Seriously. You do.
I’m not sure when this became one of the guiding philosophies in my life. My gut tells me it was sometime during college, which was also sometime during my first marriage. Okay, it was all the time of my first marriage. Hahaha.
Sometimes you just have to laugh.
And no, I don’t count myself as some genius like Al, over here. Clearly, he knew this same secret. Now I have never seen pictures of him at whatever age he was when he selected his personal philosophy, (which for the record was, “If life gives you lemons, what the hell, man?”) but I’m willing to guess I might have gotten to it a month or two before he did – several decades later, given.
How much does that matter you ask? After wondering if that’s the sort of thing you ask questions about frequently, I’d tell you something along the lines of “Not much, really.” You might get angry with me about now and threaten to cause bodily harm.
At which point I’d just laugh it off. What the hell else am I going to do?
Put some Zeppelin on the earbuds and talk to you guys.
Okay, so, like seriously. What are you talking about?
That’s a decent, responsible, and not wholly unexpected question. Don’t feel bad that I knew it was coming. I’m like that. Here’s what I can give you for an answer:
I’m talking about everything, alright? Ev. Ry. Thing.
It’s my intention to be straight with you in this post. This is good, but it’s not news. Straight is the route I generally take. So, like, I can tell you that I just walked into my kitchen to get a Canadian beer and cozied it all up in a New York Yankees deluxe super executive eight-cylinder coozie. Okay? That’s just me being straight. Or telling you I’m writing this post just before 1 am EST while sitting in my living room chair in a pair of underwear that is a pleasant, manly shade of blue. Straight. On SO many levels! Get it?
I may have gotten off track.
The thing I came here to be straight with you about is work. Dudes! Writing novels is hard!
Of course, being straight with you, I will say that is a joke. I can think of nothing else in my life that brings me the same sensations that writing does. Still… there are tough times, and I suppose I’ve kind of been in one.
It’s not like a standard “writer’s block” or whatever cool names one might have on tap for the situation. What I mean is, the ideas are there. They’re swirling and swilling around, in various stages of frustration with me for not gathering them together and setting them down.
Before anyone gets the impression that this is the paragraph that will begin my deathbed farewell, I’m fine. Okay, I’ve got a cold, and the other thing, but aside from that I am so absolutely fine. Watch. I’ll do a jumping jack.
I’m fine. Did I say that? But there has been a confluence of writing situations and opportunities which were co-mingling. They co-mingled to the point where it wasn’t a situation of one project taking precedence over another. Rather it was a situation in which I wasn’t applying myself to any of them. To anything.
Okay. With you so far.
Good. Now, When you are a writer – a real writer, (a phrase I like to use often to stir up the rabble), there are a variety of ways to feel and react to this set of circumstances. A depressing number of them aren’t particularly productive…or life-affirming (being straight), but, sadly, I’ve been through many of them. They are all a little different, but they all have the ability to take me to the same place. “I’m having trouble writing right now. And that’s because I suck, and I’ve always sucked.”
Because that’s what I grew up hearing, it’s what I grew up believing, and when someone needs to sit me down and give me a talking to it’s always me and that’s always what I say to myself.
Clearly, that’s not the way to go. If I need to explain why that’s not the way to go we have bigger issues to tackle than struggles with the printed word.
Here’s the thing:
All the years that this was my go-to in these situations the one universal throughout was a simple realization that it didn’t work. I didn’t write more because I crapped on my own head. I did write better because of it either. Basically what I did was tap into the finite store of human fuel and use up a bunch of it being completely unproductive and a mean little asshole on top of everything.
And one day, when I was just too tired to administer the usual ass-whooping warnings, I just said, “You know what? Screw it. It will work out however it works out.”
Wow! What a landmark realization! I’m stuck now, but I won’t be forever. Whether I call myself names or not.
So then what I’m saying is these work funks worry me a lot less than they once did. I know what I want to do, as well as what I am doing. And I know that some days you can grind this out. And some days it flows from you like wine from a bottle.
And some days it just sits in a shadow and has a little chuckle at your expense.
But the next page is ALWAYS just a few keystrokes away.