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Writers get laid

Writers get laid -- or they would if they tried -- because people -- especially women -- are impressed by the phrase, "I'm a writer." It's romantic.

Introducing yourself as a writer insinuates substance and depth of character; people like that. They don't know why, except that one-dimensional characters on T.V. sitcoms and big-screen romantic comedies prattle on and on about the whole package -- a good looking, funny, intelligent single with rock-solid values and money.

People admire the skill and dedication it takes to be a novelist or a journalist or a screen writer  -- "I always wanted to be a writer," they tell you with stars in their eyes.

Whether they know it's a myth or not they imagine us in rich, thrilling lives with sports cars and beach houses and Louboutin shoes like Carrie Bradshaw. So the woman at the grocery store doesn't feel bad when she puts back the US Weekly she read cover to cover before she checks out.

Or downloading unauthorized e-books (I'm not judging): Does Stephen King really suffer when someone nabs Needful Things off the Internet?

Pick an excuse.

"Books are so expensive now."

"I've already purchased a hard copy."

"I can't buy an e-version of the book I want."

It's easier then to assume we're all loaded.

Only writers know the truth

That is -- the vast majority of us won't make a living writing, because NOBODY wants to pay us. And although some of us are lucky enough to have loved ones who support even appreciate our writing -- they don't understand what goes on in our heads. They tell us "go write," and seem disappointed three hours later that we don't have manuscripts ready to publish.

We're questioned every step of the way.

"How many pages do you have?"

"Why are you writing in a spiral notebook?"

"How will you transcribe all of that?"

"Are you making good use of your time?"

"Do you need voice-recognition software?"

"Are you sure this story is meant to be?"

"How long should it take you to write a book?"

They're all well meaning of course, but writing requires a level of insanity -- a particular brand of crazy -- that unafflicted people cannot fathom. Writing to a non-writer has one definition -- "to trace or form (characters, letters, words, etc.) on the surface of some material, as with a pen, pencil, or other instrument." And despite our repeated attempts to correct their interpretation, they will never understand that writing is a process with rituals. It involves special pens and coffee mugs, lighting, room temperature, the position of your desk and everything on it ... Once disturbed, the process must begin again.

I've run out of metaphors to illustrate this for my husband. No matter what I say -- how I scream or cry -- he interrupts me with questions that don't require immediate answers; he commandeers my computer to check his email and shrugs sympathetically when I tell him "You deleted my whole f*cking story."

Writers are infrequently rewarded for their efforts, because they're artists, and they care more about connecting with their audience than they care about making money. We have our egos and the lovely, romantic image people correlate with writing. Take Vincent van Gogh for example -- he wanted acceptance so desperately from the artists of his time it drove him mad, though some would argue he was mad to begin with.  He was so flattered and overcome with happiness when someone finally admired one of his paintings that he flat-out refused to sell it -- he gave the painting away FOR FREE.

Until we stand up for ourselves and our craft -- until we demand something better -- business will treat us like bitches, BUT there's an upside for people -- like me -- who can't market themselves. We as writers can spin the circumstances of our poverty into some sort of moral position -- we're above all that capitalistic bull shit.

If you must be poor -- go out and get laid.   

Comments

  1. Writing is a painful and emotionally exhausting activity. You open your soul to strangers and translate deep ideas into pithy sentences, all to have most readers give you the same attention as they would the writing on a cereal box. You're right to say writers and artists are crazy, it's the only sane approach.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sane people are a dime a dozen. Us crazies -- we're priceless.

      Delete
  2. The romantic image of the 'writer' appeals to me, I admit to that, although I think the reality is sometimes more like the stories I heard growing up in North Vancouver.. Malcolm Lowery, years ago, would be seen by curious locals, sitting naked and drunk, in a cabin in the woods of Deep Cove, at a typewriter, working on 'Under the Volcano'...often the craziest acting people turn out to be creative geniuses...I think you're right, business treats most artists like bitches..unless they're super popular and money can be made from them..and artists all over the world want a chance to be the next golden child.
    I wish writing was my craft...I've never written, or even worked on a book, but I have always loved to write...and I've often felt half mad! lol!
    For what it's worth, I love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I often ask why I wasn't born a surgeon or a rocket scientist. I'm waiting for an answer, but I figure writing keeps me sane. Perhaps it's better for humanity that I'm a writer and not a scientist. Thanks for reading. Bonus thanks for commenting :)

      Delete
  3. I think you would be so boring if you were a surgeon and I couldn't talk to you if you were a rocket scientist. So do what you are good at and that is entertaining me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Truth, writers really get laid, all the time...

    ReplyDelete

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