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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

To Write

Opening up a blank document can sometimes be about as traumatic as getting hit in the face with a coal shovel, at least on the many occasions when I have absolutely no idea of what I want to do. Modern writers no longer have a garbage can filled with the crumpled results of bad ideas.  Now we have the Delete key.  I usually save even the worst of my efforts with the vain hope that at some later date I may find a morsel or two worth reviving. If I have even a single joke in mind and a vague notion of a theme I can usually cobble together something that someone may want to read. On other days I may start with a blank screen and after a few false starts I end up with a decent essay. Often the result is quite simply a turd, but I don’t worry too much about those days as one sure byproduct of all humanity is shit.

Even my worst efforts I can chalk up as writing practice. The stuff I like gives me a boost for the whole day. It certainly isn’t my place to say whether or not I am a good writer but I know one thing about myself: I’m addicted to writing and no amount of negative feedback could get me to quit. I mean no disrespect to the thousands of readers who have pleaded with me to take up a new hobby but I write almost entirely for myself.    

I recently looked into the curious case of the writer H.F. Saint who wrote one of my favorite modern novels, Memoirs of an Invisible Man. I have read the thing at least five times and I would say that it is the most fun I have ever had reading a book. No kidding.  From what I gathered online he wanted to be a writer early on in life but went into business instead. Somewhere in his 40s he decided to quit his job and give writing his full attention. Memoirs was the result and he made a small fortune on the book and movie rights.* I came across an interview he did some time after his good fortune and he mentioned that he was working on a new book.  And then he disappeared, never to be heard from again, at least not in the publishing world.

Barring some immense and unspeakable tragedy I can’t imagine why he would not have followed up on his first huge success. Perhaps he just took the money and ran. It is such a pity for those of us who loved his book that he stopped writing. Succeed or fail I plan on writing until the day I die. Shit, I’ll probably write a dumbass blog post from my death bed; or from the firing squad if I go out like a writer should. Some might say that I am a natural writer but it’s more about being stubborn than anything else.

*The movie sucks and has nothing to do with the book. Considering how bad this version was and advances in special effects the story practically screams out for a remake.

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