Lit. Majors Can Kiss My Ass!I once had a conversation with a professor of mine (Aaron Shurin, for those playing the home game) about being a writer. I was reluctant to call myself a writer because it sounds pretentious. I mean, I have the same stupid cliched dream that most other jackoffs have when they begin writing: sitting in a nice house in the country watching the snow fall, listening to music, writing, drinking some hot beverage, and checking the mailbox for royalty checks every couple of days while other drones have to sludge through the bad weather to suck white collar dick to get a paycheck. I figured I would have a nice dog, though originally I wanted a large dog, now I think a small dog might suit me better, but a real dog, not some chihuahua or toy poodle. Anyway, Aaron told me not to bother with labels, they are a waste of time. He told me that I should just say that I write, not that I am a writer. Much later I came the decision that the term “wordsmith” was more appropriate because it implied a craftsmanship as well as a sense that it was something to be studied and to constantly improve upon. Nowadays I can’t be bothered with labels at all. They don’t interest me. I am writing and designing all of this by myself, though I may get help before it is all said and done.
The point is, when you write, you have to have a reason. Something must motivate you to glue yourself to the computer or typewriter and keep your little fingers dancing (or your big fingers if you’re thick). I am doing this whole thing because I realize that no one else is going to publish me. I have tried. I have sent out literally hundreds of letters and stories and essays and reviews and samples and clips and you-name-it. No one gives a flying fuck about me or anything I have written.
Every time I see a successful writer on TV I want to kill them. I watch hoping that they might clue me in on how to get from where I am to where they are. They all say that they had to persevere and keep on plugging away and yada yada yada. They never say how they went from being a dreamer in their dirty apartment to the asshole annoying me on TV. And they never will. No one ever tells you how it’s done. I wish I knew how it was done, and I swear if I ever find out, I will share it with you, because where I am now, sucks.
Normally, when you write anything, you have to just get it going. You have to put something down so you can throw it away. I don’t work like that at all. I put it down and leave it as is. I always feel like it is purest when it comes right out, and the more you fuck with it afterwards, the less pure it is. Maybe that makes me mental, but I don’t care.
I would like to say that one of the things I know I do well is write fiction. I am good at creating characters and then making them interesting and consistent. I usually have a moral point or some reason why this story and these characters are here, but I never get to explain anything. So I thought that since I am doing my own thing, and I have this opportunity, and no jackoff from Harvard can tell me that I have run-on sentences and comma splices (I KNOW, I KNOW, but I LIKE THEM!), I will publish this story myself. And then, when it is all over, I will go back and explain what happened, why I wrote it, what it means, and why you should give a shit. This is going to be one of those things that I have never seen anyone else do, so forgive me if it doesn’t go as expected, okay? I don’t want to be predictable, and I certainly don’t want to rip off anyone else. Don’t make any judgements or predictions, just fucking go with it and you will be glad you did. I know what I am talking about. Don’t worry about trying to find me in the story, because it is never what you think at first. Most things are exactly as they seem, and sometimes, when they’re not, they are more interesting. Thanks.
Click here to read my fictional story, “Entitled.”