Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sort-of Typing

When writing, the most trouble I've ever had is finding a way to hold back or not to hold back.

How much is too much?

Am I revealing too much about myself?

Am I being too honest?

Not honest enough?

Should I even be writing?

Will these words hurt someone close to me?

Mostly, it's an inner conflict between the athletic, slutty, asshole I'm known as and the poet no one reads (my own damned fault because I show NO ONE my poetry).

I remember submitting an application for mail clerk, to my hometown newspaper, hoping I'd wedge my way into a staff writer position.

Until I met actual writers.

Most of the journalists and editors at my hometown paper were a stiff kick in the nads of my romantic self-image of the rebel writer-not at all how I viewed my favorite authors or myself.

These guys were pallid, balding and trollish in their appearance and just as unappealing in their manner. Most didn't have time for a young kid curious about the inner workings of creativity in regards to keeping the flow of words an irresistible feast or, at least, an appealing snack, for the brain.

One of those guys told me "there's no such thing as becoming a writer, you either are or you're not. After that, it's practice".

Back then, I was as serious about my writing as I was about pussy, risk-taking and living free of regret. Standing in the newsroom, looking at that sad handful of professional writers, I realized how little any of my interests were represented at that paper. As I figured that a town's newspaper is a reflection of it consumers (my hometown), I realized I was pondering a cross section that did not bode well for my future.

I never became a professional writer, in the sense of receipt of pay for tip-tap-typing away all day and part of the reason has to do with my experience on that day; A moment in time when I was blessed with a view of what lay years ahead on one possible tangent of my future. Another reason is that I was restless in that tiny town and wanted to see the world (I've seen pieces of it).

Since then, I've always wrestled with a way to integrate my personal self-image with the literary track I've chosen. At the times when this contest is at its most tense, I find it hard to write about any thing. Then, at some impasse, the impregnation of ideas and voices I've been holding back reaches a crescendo and I will not stop my fingers from the tip-tap-typing.

I will continue to write.

Thanks to
RC and Boris for the encouragement. It means too much to me.


Birdy said...

About time!


Boris Yeltsin said...

Let me know how you do.

The "home-town" newspaper. Sometimes I wonder in the case of my home-town: are they catering to the readers, the advertisers, or the sense of power they convey by being the only game in town, assuring their status in the arena of local politics, as the proverbial, "800 pound gorilla."

As the 800 pound gorilla in local politics, whose doing the catering? Is the paper catering to the advertisers, or are the local movers and shakers (who invariably own businesses that advertise) catering to the paper, in hopes their favorite candidates won't get crushed in the court of public opinion, where the local paper is judge, jury and executioner?

When I ran for county commissioner, I noticed something: thanks to McCain/Feingold, if a media outlet gives one candidate print space or air time, they've got to give all candidates equal air space and print time. But that doesn't mean the media outlet can't portray one candidate negatively, and the other in a positive light. That doesn't mean that one candidate won't get a picture printed, taken by a staff photographer, right after the worst hair cut of your life, and have the staff photographer tell you, "It's now or never, because we don't have to print your picture," while the candidate the paper likes, gets a picture taken of her at the Humane Society kissing fluffy puppies and kittens, while pleading for more people to adopt these cute, little death-row fur-balls.

Bottom line: people who work for local papers are nothing more than employees who do what they're told, when they're told, how they're told; just like any factory worker, or retail worker, or fast-food worker.

Half of them probably don't know why they're being told to portray things the way they do, and the other half probably don't care.

I can't give you any advice on how to use writing to change things, because I tried that, writing editorials, getting them published, and using that name recognition to run for public office. It didn't work.

If you do find a way to make a difference using writing, let me know!

Boris Yeltsin said...

BTW: glad to be of assistance to you, in your decision to write for a living. I know you'll do great!!!

(And I meant what I said about letting me know if you find a way to make a difference through writing!)

mrsleep said...

My Nephew is a writer, and participates in multiple forums.

He has four things going at the moment. He works for a high tech company as a technical writer.

He writes for a local paper, on prep sports.

He writes articles for couple of magazines.

He developing a web based business doing some webpage development and marketing services for small company's.

Anyway he started by picking up whatever he could get, and built from there.

I'm sure there is no magical or perfect way to do this, so just start somewhere and pursue parallel opportunities as the present themselves.

Anonymous said...

If you're interesting, people will read your shit and you will be noticed, if not, at least it is an outlet for your frustrations and may keep you from ice-picking someone behind their ear.