Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Rider Takes a Hit

Writing in any serious way is ninety-percent picking oneself up from the hard, dirty floor where one has been knocked due to: criticism, writer's block, frustrating characters/language, insults from people who think writing is meaningless work, and getting back on that fucking dead cliche of a horse.

Which leads one to ask: why do it? Why bother? There's no guarantee of publication or money. There's certainly no guarantee of kind words of praise since everyone's a critic...Why?

I have begun to think more and more that writing, the need to do it, is a disease the way they say alcoholism is. It is, however, incurable, and forget a twelve-step program; we'd be scribbling on our hands during meetings and occasionally, they'd find us dead in our rooms, a pen jammed into our jugular veins. If they did come up with a cure, we'd all turn into either tax accountants, librarians or sex offenders. Simply, we just can't help ourselves.

So we have no choice but to put ourselves out there for feedback, to seek advice from the wise counsel of elders who have been at this for sometime. A I said before, I'm working with the magnificent Alice Mattison my final semester here at Bennington. And i'm writing a new novel for my thesis (and for other reasons) and I am reminded that man, writing is fucking hard. I am lazy. There are steps I don't want to talk, layers I don't want to probe and language I don't want to tighten. Doesn't this seem to then go against the idea that I am compelled, diseased, even, to write? I think it's the dark irony of the disease. You are compelled to write, but there is no guarantee that it will ever be any good. For particularly egregious sufferers of the writing disease, in fact all you can churn out, day after day, is trite drivel like this, rife with silly puns and trite statements that has to sound smarter than it is.

So, as you can tell, this writer is having a less than great day about her writing.

But I am compelled, therefore tomorrow, no matter how today goes, I'll be back to torture myself and others with my words, to continue to bring people into existence on the page that might make people want to throw such a book across the room.

You must forgive me; I can't help myself.

Today's quote is a poem, since I have been instructed to read more of it. Actually it's a Shakespeare Sonnet.

Where art thou, Muse, that thou forgett'st so long
To speak of that which gives thee all thy might?
Spend'st thou thy fury on some worthless song,
Darkening thy power, to lend base subjects light?
Return, forgetful Muse, and straight redeem
In gentle numbers time so idly spent;
Sing to the ear that doth thy lays esteem,
Rise, resty Muse, my love's sweet face survey,
if Time have any wrinkle graven there;
If any, be a satire to decay,
Give my love fame faster than Time wastes life;
So thou prevent'st his scythe and crooked knife.


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