Thursday, June 28, 2007

Writing

When I was travelling, I wrote so much and with such joy that I just knew I'd come home and do it forever. Instead, I came home and, in the intervening five years, have written four times. It used to bother me when friends and family asked why I wasn't writing anymore. Now it bothers me that they don't.

But if you don't write, you can't say you're a writer. Writers write. So here, I'm writing, and it feels good to be doing this instead of just renting a movie or something. As a side incentive, Kurt Vonnegut once wrote that all writers, no matter how poor or otherwise objectionable, have pretty wives. We'll see about that one.

I abhor other people's blogs, because nobody's got anything to tell me. Actually I can't even say I abhore them, my sample's too small. I think I've read blogs three times. First time, I found out what somebody's cat did that day, or something. I cringed at the smileys, bad punctuation, and letter U instead of you. Second time, I read my dad's. It was actually pretty good, I wonder if he's still writing it. Third time, I found out my girlfriend was cheating on me. So my sample is too small to be representative, I am merely presuming other people's blogs 66 per cent abhorent, and I'm still not reading them.

But I am judging too harshly. Most of my writing has been either paid, or overseas. When you're traveling it's just too easy to write. My kind of thing is the straight-up narrative of personal experience. People thought I was a great writer, but it was because I was immersed in great stories. The stories did the work, I was just there to jot everything down. I got invited to a secret cult meeting in the mountains of Japan, and I went. Because I was hoping it was ninjas. But I also knew that any idiot would get a great story out of this.

Likewise, when you're a reporter, you're getting paid to be interesting, and you've got all day, and if at the end of the day you're still not very interesting, you've got editors who will force the issue. I'm not saying reporters have got it easy, they really don't. But they can't not be interesting, or they metamorphose into PR people.

But now I'm just a 9 to 5 schmoe like everybody else. I'm not saying my new life in the commercial graphics industry is boring, but I will not subject the public to a play-by-play of what I learned about printing today.

But what will I subject you to? As a rearmed writer, I think this will be my greatest challenge. Here are my goals for this blog.
  • Make something that is as interesting as I'd have written when I was either immersed in weirdness, or getting paid. OK, half as interesting. Starting next post.
  • Devote as much time to writing as to TV. All I watch is Battlestar Galactica, but that's still an hour a week. Goals should be lofty, but acheivable.

I think to accomplish these goals, I will have to not worry about whether what I say has been written elsewhere, and better. No problem, as I said, I'm not reading any of your blogs. So I will start with my next post, which is going to be about 1) the manipulative power of generosity, 2) stone cold stupid reviews of The God Delusion, 3) why weddings are no longer fun, or 4) some miraculous interesting thing that happens, maybe on the weekend or something, that saves me from writing about 1, 2 or 3.

- DB

3 comments:

Lucas said...

Was my wedding so uninteresting that it could actually spawn an entire commentary on why weddings are no longer fun?

Damn!

Please understand that because it was a day-time wedding there wasn't nearly enough drinking to help generate embarrassing moments and awkward pick-ups.

That said, there was laughter, tears and red meat, which is a natural recipe for a good time.

Lucas.

Stacey Jenkins said...

I am SOO happy you're writing again - I loved your travel journals and have faith you'll be a great blogger whom I check daily - and although I'm hesitant to reveal my mediocre writing skills (no smiley faces though!)...my blog is adotonthemap.blogspot.com - I'm going to link yours on my blog if that's OK
Stacey

Dave B said...

Lucas, it wasn't your wedding in particular that got me thinking on this. You realize how many weddings I've got this summer? But since I brought it up I guess I have to flush it out.

And Stacy, sure, I'm glad you're linking to me, I'll go and have a look at yours too, and steal all your ideas.