Writing and Other Crap
As a beginning—and possibly deluded—writer, I often find myself balking in my task. The truth is, if the idea doesn’t feel right; if it’s not completely formed, planned, and envisioned from start to finish, I can’t write it. As such, I spend a lot of time not writing. I pace like a caged animal. I wander around the house, and streets, distracted, looking for that perfect, mythical place where the words flow from me as easily as oil on water and the story locks together like a well-oiled machine. Some think I’m grimacing like an undertaker. Others suspect I’m out to commit murder. In actual fact, I’m just plugged up.
Sometimes, such as when there’s nothing else to talk about, someone will make the mistake of asking me what’s wrong. When I explain that I’m a writer, again only if someone’s too slow to change the topic of conversation, people will ask what it’s like.
I’ve pondered how best to put this into words for some time now. Funny that I should think on it for months, and then it clicks together in the space of just a few minutes. (That’s why writers drink. We hate our brains for screwing with us). This is intended to answer that longstanding question once and for all, as well as to see if other writers are of a like mind.
Writing a story, be it a short or a whole series, is exactly like trying to expel a concrete cinder block from your rectal chamber.
The analogy is simple, crude, easily sympathized with, and appropriate in all ways. At the beginning, the base idea, much like the cinder block, is an intruder and demands your fullest attention in the strongest terms possible. Now, you may very much wish to expel the cinder block immediately, to get it out and over with, but it’s not that easy. Rome was not built in a day. One mind was not designed to plan it all. Nor were you designed to propel something so vast, solid, and weighty from your colon.
It’s the sort of thing you’ve got to work up to. To do otherwise could have catastrophic results. So, no matter the degree of urgency, you pace yourself. You give a little grunt here, a shove there, testing the shape of it, trying to build momentum. However, no matter how patient and methodical you may be, there’s always that nagging in the back of your mind that wants to get it over and done with, that damns you for not having achieved more at the end of each day. It’s understandable. There’s a freaking cinder block in you, but no one ever seems to notice. Conversely, there’s the part of you that doesn’t wish to proceed. It’s already tired and all too aware that, no matter what, the coming days, weeks, months, and years are REALLY going to suck.
In the interim, oooooooooh the suffering. Oh the wailing. The agony. The gnashing of teeth and contortions as you give one seemingly inhuman heave after another, fighting against something that just will not come out. You’ve counted thirty-seven individual moments in which you were perfectly capable of taking another life, and the rest of the time you wish someone would take yours if it’ll just stop.
But finally, miraculously, disbelievingly, it’s out. Some people would think this cause for celebration, or at least respite. They, however, are not the ones who have just devoted God knows how long to crapping out a stupid load of concrete. With pointy edges. In the process, you’ve lost a good deal of blood and a few parts of yourself that you didn’t realize how much you liked until they were gone.
So your cinder block’s in the bowl. Not much good it’s going to do just sitting there. What now? You may feel that no one has ever accomplished such a momentous feat before. However, no matter how much you consider the experience unique, there isn’t a friend or family member on the planet—and I don’t care how starved for attention or company they might be—that wants to hear about it. And, trust me, they certainly don’t want to actually SEE the result of your ordeal.
Since that avenue of vindication for your suffering is blocked off, you do what seems natural and clean up your cinder block. You might scrub, wash, and work that cinder block for another year or two, until there never was a cleaner cinder block on the planet. Congratulations, schmuck, you’ve just made your cinder block indistinguishable from the countless millions of others out there. And you certainly haven’t changed the fact of where it came from.
So you’ve now wasted years, if not decades, on your cinder block. Your family and friends don’t care and are considering paying you so they don’t have to hear about it again. You and your cinder block are alone. Some encouragement would be nice, but you know that without someone actually inspecting your cinder block, anything they said would be baseless platitudes. All you really want is a little recognition. At this point, you’re done dreaming that your cinder block will be part of something big. Whatever hope you might’ve had has long since been beaten out of you.
Still, getting that cinder block out almost killed you and you’ll be damned if it just sits and collects dust. By God, if you’ve gotta sell your soul to Santa to get some recognition for your strange and freakish accomplishment, you’ll do it without a second thought. The problem is, though you shat out a cinder block, so have many other people. Chances are your cinder block is just as good as theirs, but they’re already established cinder block suppliers to major construction companies. You’re strictly smalltime, and because no one will give you a chance in a dying industry, you’ll stay smalltime.
In summation, after all your blood, sweat, and tears, you are still faced with the onerous task of selling a complete stranger something which is, since it came from your ass, shit.
I would say “good luck,” but a part of that oily rag I call a soul shrivels up and flakes away every time someone says that, hands me back my rejected cinder block, flashes a fake smile, and hurriedly walks away, intent on flinging money at an established cinder block shitter who’s so experienced at passing the damn things that he (or she these days) can’t sit on a barstool without slowly sliding down to ground level. Ooh, look at the run-on sentance!
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