Because Writing About Writing is What Writers Do

Somehow, it’s reached a point these days where you aren’t really considered a writer unless you’re writing about writing. I can’t really say whether that’s good or bad. Perhaps because I don’t know, but more likely because I avoid reading most of them. One might deem this tutorial littering of the internet a consequence of self-publication, in that everyone who wants to see their book in print (or on a Kindle or whatnot), can then take to their respective blog (or blob, if you’re my mother, bless her heart) and detail all the ways in which you can achieve whatever level of success they deem they have attained.

Again, good or bad, I don’t know. This is just a truth we all have to accept. Maybe there’s useful information out there that can help you. Maybe there isn’t. No idea. I mean, I can’t tell you what the Onion is writing about today because I haven’t read it. I know it’s funny though. I can guarantee that. And it’s there. There is far better than not.  Just like writing a book. It will always be better to you if it is there than if it is not.

There you go. Hallelujah, praise Timmy Christ, and may the force be with you. My writing lesson of the day. If you don’t write a book, you don’t have a book you have written. Genius. I have now joined the ranks of pseudo-professional writers who have blogged about writing. I am nearly complete as a human being. I’m one drunken tour of Scotland’s Pub of the Day Club away from ascension.

So, what do you do? How do you decide whether the advice you’re getting is advice you should be taking? Look, the truth is–the thing you need to know before taking this whole writing thing to the next level–there’s no such thing as a simplification of writing that any one person can offer. As with life, the process of learning about writing is an extensive and exhaustive process. One blog, one book, cannot cover what you need to know. Yet here you are, all engrossed in my words, or perhaps just hiking your way across the internet one click at a time, so allow me to illustrate my point in as simplified a way as I can so you only have to read one blog about it. Then you’ll know everything you need to know about writing. Ready?

Writing is hard.

Boom. You’re welcome.

Ok, so maybe that was too concise. But the truth remains. Are there varying levels of talent in which writing becomes less hard? Absolutely. Tom Robbins forged a career out of his brilliance, tapping one mind after another with a skilled hand that is not so much stratospheric as it is alien. Yet, he wrote every manuscript by hand, working on each individual sentence until it was exactly what it needed it to be. He didn’t use word counts. He just let the work tell him when he was done. Which is not “as easy as that.” That’s fucking hard. That insane-level genius. Sure, it comes easier to him than it does to most everyone else, but his easy isn’t easy for him. It’s grueling.

Writing will kick you to hell and back, then wait for you to stand so it can kick you around some more. It’s a giant sponge sucking all your time and energy, then squeezing it down the drain while letting you know it’ll be right back k thanks. It’s something that requires you to spend more time in a world that doesn’t exist than the one you’re supposed to be living in. It offers you an array of friends you can’t live without then scoffs at your genie-in-a-bottle wish that they were real. It tempts you with hope, then insists you proceed with squashing all level of hope anywhere and everywhere for everyone you create, and, shamed though you are to admit it, love. It coaxes you with the allure of wealth, readership by the millions, adoration and praise, then leaves you with a waste basket of rejection and the realization that you have yet to leave the workforce, and probably won’t anytime soon. Writing is your mistress, and it won’t be satisfied with an occasional text. It wants all of you, but it doesn’t want you to stay over, and it sure as hell doesn’t want to be anything else. It wants you to succeed, it needs you to succeed, but it doesn’t stop badgering you just because you don’t.

And you know what? You love it. You revel in it. You slosh around in your misery like a pig in filth. You devour the entire helping of writing for the pure gluttony of it, then dive into the fridge with an appetite for more. Writing is that friend you can’t live without, and it both is and isn’t there with you at every waking moment. It is the single greatest love-hate, abusive relationship you will ever know, and it will inspire you to journey into the greatest, most wonderful, corners of your mind, where mystery and fantasy burn like wildfire, where romance and seduction beat like a heart, and where the entire universe is willing to bow to the supreme truth of 42.

This is what you want. This is why you believe you exist. This is why most of your earth-based friends and family have difficulty understanding you. This is why you creep people out in crowded spaces as you stare off into alternate realities, completely unaware of your surrounding, or of the uneasiness you leave those in your path. This … this insanely hard, difficult, maddening, bitch of an art, is why everything matters, and why every struggle is survived, every fear faced, every trace of indignity of self ignored.

If not, you can stop looking for advice on writing. You can stop worrying about improving. Just write. Do your blog thing, keep a journal, write whatever your kids or family seem to want to hear, but leave the advice on the shelf, leave the expectations be.

Because writing is hard.

And quitting it is impossible.

I Don’t Wanna Wait For This Show to Be Over

My mother once referred to this as a blob.

I don’t think she entirely missed the mark.

After all, I’m not sure that what I do here is any different than unleashing the congealed thoughts of my mind, watching them dribble onto the electronic page at a speed one might delicately refer to as “methodical”. The Blob was methodical. It works. So, welcome to my blob. Let’s move on.

The Moss and I are very much routine-oriented. There is a period of time, generally an hour or two before sleep comes knockin’, in which we wind down by watching television. Used to be this involved watching episodes of Income Property, or getting yelled at by Guy Fieri, or marveling over the brazen stupidity of the contestants on Chopped. Then came the infamous day she asked me if I had ever watched Buffy. Which I had not. Which left her amazed I had somehow survived without it. Which made me question my ability to keep my heart beating Buffy-free. I was hooked by the theme song, destined to live another day. And so, thus began the nightly routine of working through shows we’ve always wanted to watch, or were amazed the other had missed. From Buffy to Angel (Right? Because you can’t watch one without immediately watching the other, and also because David Boreanaz.) to Dead Like Me to Lie to Me, we engaged in an episode or two each night, unable to break away to the Live World of Programming, deeply disappointed when any evening’s events (generally involving Baseball and the West Coast) prevented another round.

Then this happened:

This Is James Van der Beek, which is a silly name, a.k.a Dawson Leery, which is less silly unless he's attempting to cry.

This is James Van der Beek, which is a silly name, a.k.a Dawson Leery, which is less silly unless he’s attempting to cry or being Dawson.

Okay, so before I get started, let me just head off all the Dawson’s Creek fanatical outcry by saying this: I didn’t hate the show. But I would have loved it a lot more if it had been called Pacey Witter’s Whiny Distraction, or perhaps My Best Friend is an Annoying Unlikable Know-it-all: The Pacey Witter Story. Because, let’s face it: This show would have tanked without Pacey. We not only liked him, but unlike the rest of the crew, HE ACTUALLY DID STUFF. He even went so far as to evolve naturally, and much to the dismay of ever other character not named Joey, grow up. Better yet, my burgeoning man-crush on the cheeky Joshua Jackson aside, Pacey led us to Fringe, which is better saved for another blob because my one-thousand word review is somewhere around a manuscript at this point. It needs edits. And more pictures.

Here’s a picture:

Will someone please tell me who I am?

Will someone please tell me who I am?

We’re definitely Michelle Williams fans. How can you not be? But what the hell was the deal with Jen Lindley? It’s as if the writers carried her forward as if she were a cup of hot coffee that may, or may not, have too much sugar and/or cream, or might not have even been coffee at all but merely an empty cup that was neither hot nor cold nor just right. She crushed on Dawson until he wanted her, then bailed (rinse and repeat a few seasons later, then once more for good measure), was a cheerleader for a minute, went from bad girl to wanna-be-good-girl to bad girl so frequently and efficiently that watching Miley Cyrus or Lindsay Lohan is a rather tame affair, pined for a gay guy, had some weird Dawson-esque love/run/don’t love/love thing with a weepy eyed kid named Henry, befriended every most hated character on the show and wondered why no one understood her, was an on-again off-again alcoholic weirdo, was a music dj out of nowhere who did her thing and then suddenly just didn’t, tried to have sex with pretty much every character willing (or even unwilling, actually), and had the most inconsistent, indecisive, and outright awful hair of the entire show.

And why didn’t anyone on this show ever get carded? I mean, sure, they all looked like they were pushing thirty, but somewhere, someone had to have had their doubts, yeah? Or at least a love for keeping their business open?

Then there was Andie, whose endearing fast-talking, brainiac, neurosis somehow morphed into a psychopathic raging mental breakdown out of nowhere, despite the fact that she was dating Pacey, who, as mentioned, was the gold in this pawn shop classic. Before we could come to grips with this surprising about face, she was carted off to an institution, to be locked up with Michael Meyers I presume, and fell in love with some random crazy guy who couldn’t at all have been as snarky as Pacey and his I Call Everyone By Their Last Name wit. Which would have been fine if they hadn’t brought her back, because I suddenly didn’t care. She just became another character on the Let’s Annoy Pacey Because He’s the Heart of the Show dog pile.

Grams was cool. I liked her. She’s my defacto Ms. Ruth in The Storyteller.

Dawson’s parents were weird. Not in that, Every Kid’s Parents way. Just in that I Feel Sticky Because You’re There kind of way.

Audrey waffled between annoying and acceptable. As with every other female on the show, she was only acceptable while dating Pacey. Anyone notice how crazy these girls got without Pacey in their lives?

I liked Jack when he played football. College Jack made me want to pull ears off bunnies.

Oh, Doug. Pacey knew all along, didn’t he?

Some chick shows up, named Eve, right? Looking for her mother, or something. Gets Dawson all worked up, because, well, because he’s Dawson. Makes herself a nuisance. Seems loony. Then she’s all I’m So Sad Because Family, and we’re supposed to like her. Then she leaves. We find out who her mother is. Then it’s never mentioned again. Right. That.

Katie Lee Holmes married Tom Cruise. I mean, is it possible to look past that? And can anyone remember Joey’s profession? I don’t think she can either.

Interestingly, there are several more characters, plot points (what’s that? Dawson’s dad had a contract dispute? KILL HIM DEAD NOW AND HAVE DAWSON BECOME EVEN MORE INSUFFERABLE THAN EVER AMEN PLEASE.), blah blah blah I could ramble on about, but it only now occurs to me I have not even mentioned this:

Dawson, what's the deal with you hair?

Dawson, what’s the deal with your hair?

No, seriously. Your hair is just ... it's just awful.

No, seriously. Your hair is just … it’s just awful.

I mean, it hurts just to look at it. This is why I can't be with you.

I mean, it hurts just to look at it. This is why I can’t be with you. I know you don’t understand, on account of being Dawson and all.

Holy hell, you hair is so awesome. I totally love you.

Holy hell, you hair is so awesome. I totally love you.

What have you done, Dawson? His hair! You messed ... oh, wait. Never mind.

What have you done, Dawson? His hair! You messed … oh, wait. Never mind. Jealous.

I think that sums it up. I mean, sure there were a few instances where we were worried about Pacey hair (the goatee comes to mind) and whether or not Joey would choose it over Dawson’s weird feathered 80’s locks, but dude had a boat, became a chef, slept with his teacher, dated a psychopath, traded stocks like a boss, and never once did his hair look out of place. What did your hair do, Dawson? Nothing. NOTHING. Maybe How Pacey’s Hair Won the Internet would have been a better title.

As mentioned, I didn’t hate this show. The first three seasons were pretty okay. After that, the show just annoyed me. There are reasons I don’t want to be a teenager again. Dawson’s Creek nailed all of them, and added a few for good measure. It’s the only show we’ve thus far watched that I could not wait to finish. I just wanted it to end. And it haunts me still.

Of course, I can wash some of it away with this:

If not, I can just watch Dawson cry.