A young man gets bored, and decides to write a story. He decides to write a story about the most exciting thing he can imagine. Along the way, he discovers that he isn’t very good at it. He’s created the literary equivalent of a McDonald’s hamburger: it’s food, but not very sustenary; full of shitty preservatives and filler that only the most careless would consume, let alone enjoy.
As time goes by, he realizes that the health-nuts were right. It’s shit. And anyone who likes it is a deadly idiot.
More time passes, and yet, the shit remains. Undissolved, in the pit of his stomach. Making him sick. More and more, he realizes how important it is to take care of his health. To take care of his mind. And to take care of his stories.
But man has to fight against his own nature when he diets and exercises. All the truth in the world won’t change a stubborn man into action. At least, not necessarily.
The voices tell him that he himself needs to speak. Their triumphs arouse in him his desire to succeed himself. A best friend’s favorite author, and one of the most heralded pieces of political fiction ever written, call out within him the desire to scream. The exhaustion and dissatisfaction comes rapidly. It isn’t that the words aren’t good. But it’s that his heart screams out to speak. He can’t take it anymore. He screams out loud, to only a few. His words will fade into obscurity. Can’t the young man focus on these resonating words? For some reason, only a little. And that reason, it appears to be, is the desire to scream himself.
The youth are cursed with ignorance. But, strangely enough, the young man is smart enough to realize this. But, as an old country song used to sing, “still too young to care“. Besides, the confidence in youth can lead to contentment in old age. There will be no shortage of sages making you aware of their own failures. But why they assume that their shortcomings will be your own remain a mystery.
Speaking of mysteries, I don’t care how good of a writer John D. MacDonald is, I’m not a big fan of them.
The main thing that is going to get me to read is going to be my desire to improve as a writer. I suppose there will be moments when I am bored enough to read rather compulsively. But as I read, I realize that I am dissatisfied with my own abilities as a storyteller. It matters not to me that these writers are better than I. What matters is that my heart is dissatisfied with my inability to communicate as often, and as effectively, as I wish.
I can hear many old sayings about how those who wish to speak the most often, and the loudest, are the dumbest. My goal is to be a bright exception to that rule. Despite the fact that, by almost every standard, my words are abjectly elementary and juvenile, the beast within my heart waits to be awakened. Bilbo and Smaug both want the gold. And my goal is to make sure they both get it.
Of course, it’s a long journey. But journeys are best when they aren’t directed by an outsider. When they are directed by the self. When the reason for them is clear within the mind of the one taking the journey. That is part of my journey. Being able to say things beautifully, and creatively, and witfully. Beautiful, well-written stories of tragedy, horror, adventure, and heartbreak. Isn’t it ironic how that is what the heart wants? Heartbreak?
I mean no disrespect to any author that has come before me, or will come after me. But you’re all tools. I’m going to use you. Your existence is for my selfishness. Your words are going to become mine. I can appreciate the fact that, sometime throughout your life, you felt just as compelled to scream as me. But beyond that, I wish, myself, to scream. Maybe I’ll catch a faint holler in the distance, of the message you wished for me to absorb. But that whisper is saying to me “Scream, dammit. Scream. Learn how to scream for yourself. And use us to do it.”
The only trouble is screaming coherency, or even better still, charm, and wit, instead of nonsense.
Sometimes, the hardest part of screaming is the screaming. Other times, the hardest part of screaming is the message. But I think as long as I’m able to scream, I’m going to relish that gift, that right, right along with other screamers. I appreciate your screams, and I long to join in on the hauntingly beautiful chorus…
Long live the written word, and may we chant this from the sulphury pits of Hell if we must.