Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Many of you are either writers or like to write or you wouldn't spend so much time commenting, reading, and writing in your blogs. Some of you may even aspire to publication some day, but you're afraid your words and your stories aren't good enough. Granted, there are some who yield metaphor and words like a Samurai and others who fumble and stumble across the keyboard or paper, but that does not mean your words aren't worth reading. The main fear is whether or not anyone will read or care about what you write or, worse yet, that someone will have something bad to say about your writing. Don't worry. You won't be disappointed.
One thing you can guarantee is that someone will hate what you write and decry it from the cyber heights as the worst piece of drivel ever penned by an illiterate ape. That's a given. It is inevitable. But that person who denounces you as a talentless hack with pretensions to intelligence read what you wrote and read it all the way thru or s/he would not have commented about how your ending lacked force or insight and how you failed to tie up all the loose ends or even provide a reason for the story Think about it.
Ever since man climb down out of the trees and stood erect, clutched a fire-charred stick and drew a picture for his tribe, wo/man has been a perverse and erratic creature. Even in biblical history, Adam and Eve knowingly did what they were told not to do -- eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Like they needed help with the evil part. It is part of wo/men's nature, that perversity of spirit that makes them go where they are told not to go and do what they are told not to do. It's a fact of life. We like what we have been forbidden to touch or have or even envision. Without that perversity of nature we would still be a half-step above the animals.
In this day of blurb envy and acquisition, writers pray for someone with a recognizable name who will read their words and give them a literary pat on the back with a quick little sentence or, hope beyond hope, paragraph they can use to promote their book. All that back patting and those kindly words are effective as praise goes, but what about a book that touts its own mediocrity or mishandling of the intricacies of language and societal mores and morays? Wouldn't you be more likely to see what the fuss was all about? Wouldn't you be more likely to pick up a book that screamed in bold three-dimensional letters that the book is garbage and the writer should be banned from any form of writing? Think about the sign that says the paint is wet or the dark basement where strange and ominous sounds scream, "Don't go down there." What are you more likely to do?
Wo/man is perverse so it is time for writers to become equally perverse. Write what you want and pray for critics the way a stand-up comic prays for hecklers so that the spark will start a literary blaze that will rush across the plains and excite everyone to weigh in and give their opinion. The more people who dislike your book means there are more people reading your words and they took the time to buy your book. Whether they keep it or not is immaterial, but I'd be willing to bet they will tell their friends they have to read the junk between the covers just so they won't be called a liar or delusional. A sale is a sale and a reader is a reader.
Every time you think you lack talent, think of the nasty person waiting in the wings to snap up your book just so they can loudly shout from the cyber heights, in print, and maybe even on the air waves and microwaves that your book is the worst piece of insanity to ever see print. Being a hack is not necessarily a bad thing. Look at Stephen King and Dean Koontz and so many others. Even Clinton's book deserves to be read and quietly shut in a cellar, but at least get it from the library and spend your money for some really putrid tripe so you can feel confident that you are no less a writer than they.
Conceit is a good thing. Get some. Borrow it, steal it, or beg for it, but develop it and pray for long, detailed, and lousy reviews. It's your right.