Disclaimer: The opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect my actual opinions.

November 19, 2004

Here I go

I sent my first story from while I was away to the National Post. Tiny bit nervous now. Which is to say I can barely sit still, think, or go to the toilet. Quite a few of my friends read it: three loved it unconditionally, like puppies, three thought it a little distant or detached, and one thought it was boring. I love writing.

But I hate people reading it. That's not quite true: what I hate is when people say it's anything other than perfect, especially if I invested a lot of time and effort into writing it. I know, obviously, that nothing I write is perfect -- there's no such thing as perfect, anyway -- but that doesn't stop me being disheartened by even the slightest criticism. (That's not to say I want people to lie to me about my writing. I'd hate that too, probably even more.)

It's funny. When I show something I've written to someone I watch them while they read it. Watch their face for reactions. Try to guess, from the position of their eyes, where on the page they are, because I know what's coming up and what kind of reaction I expect from it. And if they don't react in the way I expect I start worrying. Are they not enjoying it? Did I fuck something up? Is it only me in whom those particular words stir that particular reaction? If they do react the way I expect, it delights me.

For some reason this is all amplified a hundred times if the writing is meant to be funny. If someone laughs where they're meant to laugh over something I've written, I am ludicrously pleased. But if someone doesn't laugh once at what I think to be a consistently funny piece, I'm devastated. It's an utterly horrible feeling. Failure. Inadequacy. I could never be a stand-up comedian. No wonder they're all alcoholics.

So why do I write? I ask myself that occasionally. Will I ever be able to produce anything even resembling "limping invisible down to the sloe-black, slow, black, crow-black, fishingboat-bobbing sea," or "fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion"? Will I ever make people laugh as hard as Bill Bryson or "Ted L. Nancy," or entertain with such squirming perfection as P.G. Wodehouse or Roald Dahl, or keep people up all night reading reading reading like Dean Koontz or Dan Brown, or irritate so compulsively as Auberon Waugh or Mark Steyn? Will I? If not, what's the point? Is writing about the creator, or is it about the audience? Do I blog for me or do I blog for you? Why do I care so much?


At November 20, 2004 at 2:43 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've dredged up long-forgotten reasons of why I wanted to write in the first place. I no longer look for my articles in print. They publish in the papers and I don't even care anymore. Jaded. Mostly lacking passion. Automatic.

Thanks for the reminder of what all the passion was about in the first place. I need to inject more of that into my work, diversify my markets, home in on what excites me again.

Other than your wife in trashy makeup, I mean.

Will it publish? Let us know when.
"karos" at xanga


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