Updated: May 25
“…whatchu know ‘bout my writes?
Whatchu know ‘bout what’s weak, what’s tight?”
My Writes from Art Official Intelligence. de la Soul - My Writes:
I recently found some of my dusty old journals. One was from 2001, the other 2003. I read them last night and had no qualms whatsoever about tossing them in the rubbish. They were written in really lovely books that I probably spent too much for but that didn’t’ make them any more palatable. I learned something from the reading though: whenever I’ve journaled, it’s been primarily a focus for my angst at that moment. Months of happiness could drift by undocumented but a couple days of despair, those I can torturously elaborate on and each will sound alarmingly the same, recorded like a stutter. Any of those journals could have been written in 1971, 1981, 1991 or 2010. The general theme tends to be the same - first I’m a sniveling pitiful mess about some perceived personal injustice, then once I’ve exhausted myself, I’ll notice how embarrassingly pathetic I sound which launches me into optimistic overdrive. That’s the nature of my nature. First the ungrateful whining, then the inevitable cheerleading. So, it has been, year after year. The issues may vary but the format doesn’t. I will never journal like that again. I write for pleasure now.
I actually do enjoy writing, especially when spirit moves me. However, I don’t seem to possess the stamina of a true writer. I’ve read that writers are obsessed with writing. I’m familiar with the isolation required to tap away on my computer for hours or days. There’s the constant thinking about things to write about, agonizing about how to write them. Then there’s the despairing about how they were written. My scattered notes of new ideas scribbled passionately, often misplaced. And there is the waking-life dreaming where everything becomes a storyline and everyone becomes a character. I do all that as well when I’m enthused. I just can’t seem to do it consistently.
My friend who writes for a living says that real writers, are neurotic introverted word geeks who obsessively write, rewrite what they’ve written or worry about the calamity of not being able to write, often becoming quite cranky. I much prefer to enjoy writing when I feel like it. Often I like to spew.
Spewing is something different than a serious writing project because I don’t really care if anyone else enjoys it, agrees with it, can tolerate much less appreciate my spew. If I feel like it, I do it and as we all know now, FaceBook is an excellent venue for spewing. That dandy social utility is designed for spewing. Morning coffee at the FB Café often provides me the pure pleasure of a spew. It’s a rant outlet mall for millions. Sometimes my fellow voyeurs actually read the shit I post, but most ignore or hide it, and some have even blocked me. I tend to be lenient with the spew of others on their own FaceBook wall. If I’m not interested, I scroll on by.
But often I am interested and not only because I am easily entertained. I have learned a lot from other’s posts. I utilize the platform for my passionate ideological spews. I do it because I can. I have the right to My Writes. It’s a true virtual democracy. Everyone can spew their two cents of graffiti on their own wall if they feel like it. Once, a friend scolded me for posting my personal bias saying that I had lost my credibility. With whom? Isn’t that hilarious? I answer only to myself. What anyone else thinks is their own business and bias. That’s the freedom to think and express, that’s the freedom we’re fighting for, that’s the social justice we’re trying to preserve whether we agree with, enjoy or detest the content.
Right now I’m thinking ‘bout My Writes, in a self-reflective way as professional writers must. I have a lot on my mind. People who know I write will suggest all kinds of topics I could write about next. I have my own list and its extensive. I’d have to live long to capture all the funny or tragic vignettes, stories and recollections I salvage daily from real life, my life or imagination. But what actually captures my attention, slams my butt onto the chair and propels my fingers to dance across the keyboard is often not something I can predetermine. Sometimes the subject insists on writing itself on its own accord in its own time, then I merely become my own editor. True, I have forced topics, discipline and deadlines. I actually can do that, but it can feel like doing taxes or homework. I don’t derive the same pleasure from structures as I do from a full-on creative burst. I’ll seriously apply myself when I have to because I am seriously interested in becoming a better writer and if I am becoming a better writer then I’m also having fun.
An interviewer once asked Tom Robbins, one of my literary heroes, if he ever got writer’s block. Mr. Robbins replied that he gets up every morning, goes to his desk prepared to write. His muse knows exactly where to find him. If She doesn’t show, he heads out for a coffee. I can resonate with that. Lately I’ve been focused on what’s weak, what’s tight.
“…we’re flat out classic…separate the real from the plastic…”
“…and I don’t gotta name no names, play no games…
fuck it all up, I take the blame…”
My Writes are my own pleasure. If others enjoy or benefit from my thoughts, I’ll pat my own back. If not, I’ll take the heat. An idea, once it grabs a passionate hold in my mind, will likely find its way out. This is how I exercise My Writes. I’m adapting my nature to the call, whether I am received or not, because I am writing. My experience and imagination will collide, embrace and procreate on the page. W.H. Auden was asked, “Is it true that you can write only what you know?” And Auden answered, “Yes it is. But you don’t know what you know until you write it.” What a marvelous observation. Isn’t this a writer’s truth? It is for me. I’m a writer.