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Thread: Writing as a career

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by blp View Post
    I'm not trying to justify anything. I don't want a nine to five job either, though I ****ing loathe advertising, even though it's the only way I've worked out to earn a living wage and have free time in this, the third most expensive city in the world. All I was saying is, there doesn't seem to be any rule about what writers do to get by. And I don't think there is. Those guys were masters? And? They weren't when they started out, were they? I don't think there's any rule about it. I also don't think having loads of free time is necessarily the best thing for a writer. Lay what all down? I'm firmly of the opinion that most work sucks and is meaningless, but it's what most people have to do and, as such, I think it's good material. Not the only material, but I wouldn't want to be a writer who'd never had to do it.
    Oh, okay, I see what you're saying. Yeah, well, I don't see what you're doing in advertising either, you seem to be too creative for that. It goes back to what you said, you live in a very expensive part of the world. But that's precisely my point, blp---we choose our way of life. I recently moved out of the most expensive place in the USA for exactly that reason.

    As far as the great masters of literature, it didn't hurt that they were endowed with damn good genes. The fact is most people have to work at it, which leaves many with immense potential going to waste because they no longer believe in the ideal of art for art's sake. The canons of western civilization read that 9-to-5 is the only "way."
    And to that I say bull****.

    To the point about Ginsberg buying into corporate life, Kerouac eventually convinced him to drop that job, and later grad school, both of which, Ginsberg admitted, had been dissatisfying. How many would have the courage to do something like that today??? Most would be waiting for their summer vacation from teaching to travel five thousand miles (paid on credit) to feed the birds in Vienna or stand at the Eiffel Tower with cell phones plastered to each ear waxing on about how inspired they've become. The problem is, the time they get around to 'laying it all down' it will be time to go back to work.

    Gregory Corso once said of Kerouac: "Kerouac writes when he takes a s*hit." How many of you love writing that much?

    I think I agree with you here, blp, but you lost me some, what do you mean?
    Quote Originally Posted by blp
    I'm firmly of the opinion that most work sucks and is meaningless, but it's what most people have to do and, as such, I think it's good material.
    Quote Originally Posted by blazeofglory View Post
    I like add something to all that has been said here. Writing should be taken as a hobby or passtime and if you take it as a career and want to get paid you are likely to be disappointed as a matter of fact. There needs to be some sacrifice. Kafka hardly got published in his life. Ayn Rand got refused a dozen times by publishers.
    I"m not saying do it as a career and rely on it for your bread. I'm saying do whatever you have to do to maximize the number of hours in your day that you can spend with it.

    This goes back to what Rilke was saying in his letters---write for yourself, F everything else.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon1jt View Post
    I"m not saying do it as a career and rely on it for your bread. I'm saying do whatever you have to do to maximize the number of hours in your day that you can spend with it.

    This goes back to what Rilke was saying in his letters---write for yourself, F everything else.
    Some people have even written things knowing that it would cause their life to become a hell.
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  3. #33
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon1jt View Post
    Oh, okay, I see what you're saying. Yeah, well, I don't see what you're doing in advertising either, you seem to be too creative for that. It goes back to what you said, you live in a very expensive part of the world. But that's precisely my point, blp---we choose our way of life. I recently moved out of the most expensive place in the USA for exactly that reason.
    I'm beginning to plan my escape.

    Quote Originally Posted by jon1jt View Post
    I think I agree with you here, blp, but you lost me some, what do you mean?
    That Adam's curse is the stuff of life. I think I've done my bit now and if I never had to graft at something meaningless again, I'd say, fine, and, whoo hoo. But, at the risk of sounding a bit Mr. Deasyish ('I paid my way!') I wouldn't want to write from a position of never having done it and no one I've seen who's avoided regular work - by being born into or marrying money - is a very good, er, advert for it. I mean, thanks, I kind of agree that I'm too creative for advertising too, but that's jobs for you. At least in this one I do get to be a little creative. They even call me a creative. (But no, really, I hate it.)

    If I lost you a bit, it's because I'm making a complicated proposition that I probably don't have a firm grasp on myself. For me it feels as if it was really necessary to live something like an ordinary life, whatever that is, where I supported myself doing something I didn't love. Maybe it made it easier to clarify what I did love. It also took care of a lot of fear. I didn't want to feel like some fainting violet who could only survive if I was successful at art and could only be around artists. Anyway, it's not like I had much choice.

    I guess what I'm driving at is, it feels as if you're skating over a logical flaw. Kafka, Oppen, Stevens et. al. were geniuses so it was OK for them to do ordinary work, but for more ordinary talents it's not? Why should ordinary talents be given any special privileges to release the potential of their only ordinary abilities? Don't forget, Oppen didn't write for 25 years because he was doing jobs and fleeing anti-communist witch hunters.

    Ideally, then, you'd have a genius test and give out the arts council/NEA funding to the brilliant but 9 to 5 beleagured Kafkas of the world - except that, until they've released their potential in a fairly sustained way anyway, you don't know who the geniuses are and most of them have to start from the same position of being alone in the world and having to support themselves. Elmore Leonard, another old ad writer, got so bored with what he was doing professionally that he started getting up at 6 every day to write his first novel. As your Kerouac remark suggests, some people are going to write no matter what. In a way, you could argue, somewhat punningly, that Adam's curse is not a bad way of separating the wheat from the chaff (and, by this, I mean, actually, the ones who really want to do it from the less motivated ones).

    As far as work actually being material for a writer, well, like I say, it's the stuff of life. Not to argue that every writer should write about work, though, at best (or worst) workplace situations can be like Shakespeare; but I think no matter how you crack it up, whether you do or don't work for a living, it's irreduceably there as part of the conundrum of how we get through life and live it well or otherwise.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by blp View Post
    I'm beginning to plan my escape.
    Yes yes, my leaving corporate involved an awfully drawn out period of procrastination! But the time helped me to believe in the possibility of a second way. That was 1995. The fear of leaving a steady job is that you'll regret it later, the fear that the routine you have won't be there tomorrow. I still have no regrets. You'll know when the time is the right time. Good luck with your great escape.

    Quote Originally Posted by blp
    But, at the risk of sounding a bit Mr. Deasyish ('I paid my way!') I wouldn't want to write from a position of never having done it and no one I've seen who's avoided regular work - by being born into or marrying money -
    What a sense of waste that must be, to marry into money for the sake of avoiding work. I agree, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

    Quote Originally Posted by blp
    They even call me a creative. (But no, really, I hate it.)
    Such compliments often act as resistance against the decision to leave a job. I think it's a big conspiracy, actually

    Quote Originally Posted by blp
    If I lost you a bit, it's because I'm making a complicated proposition that I probably don't have a firm grasp on myself. For me it feels as if it was really necessary to live something like an ordinary life, whatever that is, where I supported myself doing something I didn't love. Maybe it made it easier to clarify what I did love. It also took care of a lot of fear. I didn't want to feel like some fainting violet who could only survive if I was successful at art and could only be around artists. Anyway, it's not like I had much choice.
    Or, said another way: Is it possible that the pursuit of an ordinary life produced a sense of urgency in us to create what we believe to be what we truly love? What would our lives be like without the pipe dream? I think Eugene O'Neil was on to something. I read that he once said the drunks in the bar more represented working class folks.

    Quote Originally Posted by blp
    I guess what I'm driving at is, it feels as if you're skating over a logical flaw. Kafka, Oppen, Stevens et. al. were geniuses so it was OK for them to do ordinary work, but for more ordinary talents it's not?Why should ordinary talents be given any special privileges to release the potential of their only ordinary abilities?
    Well, they're not to be given special privileges, I am saying they have to run faster. That requires immense sacrifice, especially when your competition's got three laps on you.

    Quote Originally Posted by blp
    Ideally, then, you'd have a genius test and give out the arts council/NEA funding to the brilliant but 9 to 5 beleagured Kafkas of the world - except that, until they've released their potential in a fairly sustained way anyway, you don't know who the geniuses are and most of them have to start from the same position of being alone in the world and having to support themselves.
    Well I agree with that to an extent. And that's why I'm saying that the decision to abandon the nine-to-five life "to be" a writer must be a deep personal decision, a decision most are unwilling to make. I actually don't believe that we have the capacity to wake up one day and choose writing as a career; it chooses us.

    Quote Originally Posted by blp
    As far as work actually being material for a writer, well, like I say, it's the stuff of life. Not to argue that every writer should write about work, though, at best (or worst) workplace situations can be like Shakespeare; but I think no matter how you crack it up, whether you do or don't work for a living, it's irreduceably there as part of the conundrum of how we get through life and live it well or otherwise.
    I also agree with this to an extent. Life experience is a major source, but Jack London never visited Alaska, and that Call of the Wild is a helluva novel. And as far as insight into the mechanics of life via the workplace, consider that you're dealing with people from quite similar walks of life. A workforce comprised of college graduates who pursued a career and made many mistakes in the process. Most of you want babies and families, a nice retirement package, etc. Nothing wrong with that. This redundancy continues throughout your work life. You get up at the same time, eat at the same time, take vacations---many to the same places; watch the same TV shows, etc etc.

    The workplace is like going to see a block buster film. When you've seen one, you've seen them all.
    Last edited by jon1jt; 03-06-2008 at 10:23 PM.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

  5. #35
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    Jon said:
    Or, said another way: Is it possible that the pursuit of an ordinary life produced a sense of urgency in us to create what we believe to be what we truly love? What would our lives be like without the pipe dream? I think Eugene O'Neil was on to something. I read that he once said the drunks in the bar more represented working class folks.
    Not to interfere but I greatly agree with that. It seems like I need to lack the necessary time to do something to want to do it. See what I mean? When I know I cannot create because I've other things to do, I wish I could create, and sometimes I will take time to do so with this feeling of urgency, but sometimes in holidays when I could write or draw or whatever, I cannot do so.

  6. #36
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweets America View Post
    Jon said:


    Not to interfere but I greatly agree with that. It seems like I need to lack the necessary time to do something to want to do it. See what I mean? When I know I cannot create because I've other things to do, I wish I could create, and sometimes I will take time to do so with this feeling of urgency, but sometimes in holidays when I could write or draw or whatever, I cannot do so.
    Absolutely normal, Sweets. There's a great episode of Seinfeld where George and Jerry decide they're going to write a sit-com, thinking it'll be easy. Cut to repeated shots of them falling asleep in armchairs. I don't know why this happens, but there's something absolutely stupefying about suddenly having a lot of freedom to be creative. My two-fold prescription, for what it's worth, is 1) work from a source, whether it's a memory, a horizon, a cardboard box, whatever (this is actually the secret of Seinfeld's eventual solution, famously, 'a show about nothing' - actually, one based on stupid day-to-day stuff). I think a lot of the pressure is imagining you have to make stuff up from scratch and 2) take a cue from the really bad poem thread. Don't worry too much about making something good. Give yourself license to be quick, bad and careless. You may be surprised to find that, just as your initial impulse to do something good produced almost nothing, your concerted attempt to be bad has unintended consequences.

    The thing is, Jon, I was reading some Kafka last night and even with him being a genius and everything, I don't think the stuff he produced was just a matter of not having to run as fast. I mean, think about it, where do you think he came up with all that beaurocratic absurdist nightmare stuff we now call kafkaesque? I take your point about Jack London, but he did have a lot of experience of out-doorsyness in general, even if not Alaska specifically.

    There are always these stories of writers writing about stuff they have no experience of, then being asked how many years they spent in Alaska/working as an insurance adjuster/roping steer etc. and if the writers tell the story themselves, they always seem to be chuckling at the way they've got away with it. Somehow, they always sound like the first person they conned was themself.

    The reason I find this debate so interesting is that my feelings about it are so conflicted. I sort of start with the common idea (Rilke expresses it in those letters of his) that nothing is uninteresting, then find it put resoundingly to the test in stultifying environment of the workplace, which not only bores me and frustrates me, but which I object to morally. But the thing is, it's only since I've begun working regularly that I've really felt able to produce my own writing consistently. It started on day one because it seemed like the only way I was going to be able to stand it. Instantly, I had no problem writing. Before that, it was what Sweets describes above - the awful blankness of the blank page. Apparently, going into an office and hating it was more inspiring than sitting at home making pots of coffee and staring at the wall. Weird. The problem is, does this mean I have to give up some of my moral objection to office life? The fact that I seem to have needed it to make things I loved?

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    This is such an interesting matter, eh? I'm glad you see what I mean, blp. Sometimes I wondered if it could just be some kind of laziness, I don't know. But that's true that I really get an anxious feeling when I want to create something and I just cannot. It doesn't work this way, it seems. If I am free to create, I just cannot do anything. I think it must have happened sometimes that I created something when I had all the time in the world, but I mostly have trouble with that.
    The blank page, as you say, the infiniteness of possibilities, is very stressful. I often find myself anxious about that. I think your advice about working from a source is an appropriate one.

    What I have noticed is that I just cannot plan creation. Generally, it is creation itself which comes to me, I feel that I need to write or draw or paint. And in drawing especially, I really feel that I have no difficulty to draw when the urge to do so was unexpected whereas I would have had trouble to do so if I had tried to go towards creation instead of waiting for it to come to me.
    Sometimes I have an idea for something to write or draw but it is just impossible if I am the one consciously deciding when creation has to happen. It is kind of disturbing because I have no control over that and I think that maybe someday creation will just go away from me.

    The third problem that I have is that when I want to write, I tend to have this thing which tells me 'you have to write the greatest poem of all times', which is utterly stupid because I'm not even a writer. But there is still this thing on my mind, and in the end I just don't write at all and I feel terrible.

    From the advice you gave, I feel that you perfectly understand what I've been saying here. Now that's nice.

  8. #38
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweets America View Post

    What I have noticed is that I just cannot plan creation.
    This is exactly it, Sweets. I think this must be part of the appeal of doing a regular job for me. Creatively, it's a way of setting up a situation where I can be constantly caught unaware. Maybe trying to be creative is pushing in the wrong direction. There's an interesting paper called 'Ways to intervene in a system' by a systems analyst called Donella Meadows where she says that people faced with a problem regularly do exactly the opposite of what's required to solve it.

    It is scary, as you say, the idea that it will just go away from you at some point and never come back. It's interesting that this is such a frightening thing to certain people. Very interesting, very tricky. Being creative is apparently something we use to define ourselves, so if it disappears, what then? Do we disappear too? Well, no one, but no one is creative all the time so if we're really hoping to be defined by it, then, in theory, we're constantly losing definition, disappearing. Or if we hate that which is uncreative, constantly turning into what we hate. A Sysyphean task. Everything at stake.

    Also the idea that you know you had a few good ideas once, but they were luck, pure luck. You don't know how they happened. You don't know how to make them happen again. And now everyone's going to realise what an utter fraud you are.

    Did you say scary? I'm afraid I may be making it worse. But if the fear is of disappearing, the answer seems to me to be to let it happen a little, to let oneself dissolve a bit into the fabric of things, crucially, to have relationships with people, objects, ideas, badness, chaos, emotions, conflicts (especially conflicts) and other art works. And nothingness.

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    Blp, I hear everything you say here, that speaks to me.

    Creatively, it's a way of setting up a situation where I can be constantly caught unaware.
    Yes, I relate to that. Also, I think that part of the pleasure of creation is the fact that you don't know when it will happen, there is some kind of mystery which I find interesting. I've noticed anyway that trying to be creative didn't really lead me anywhere.
    The other day, I thought I had some kind of writer's block because I had not written anything for a long time. And the idea of writing a short story, for instance, seemed to be such a draining task. I wanted to write just to reassure myself, and perhaps to feel again this satisfactory feeling of the accomplished task. But I could not. Then one night I woke up, wrote one page and went back to sleep. I felt better even if I did not do anything with that written page. It was just to say 'it's ok, it's not dead'. Then ther other day I had this feeling that I had to write a poem, and I did, and that greatly reassured me. It worked because it came from somewhere else. I recognized the feeling.

    I think that part of my anxiety is due to the fact that next year I will take classes of creative writing and that streses me to a point where I just cannot write anymore. I am thinking of all those students who will write wonderful things and then I see myself, trying to write something in a language which is not even my native one. Well this last point, I think, is a positive one because I couldn't write poems in French anyway.

    Being creative is apparently something we use to define ourselves, so if it disappears, what then? Do we disappear too?
    That's a tricky question. I think that creativity is not the only thing that describes me anyway, but that is a part that I enjoy, so yes I would be scared to lose it. My creativity (I'm not sure I should call it 'mine') seems to be some other entity which invites itself in my mind. I've noticed that there also seems to be another level in my mind where I think differently.

    Also the idea that you know you had a few good ideas once, but they were luck, pure luck. You don't know how they happened. You don't know how to make them happen again. And now everyone's going to realise what an utter fraud you are.
    You know, in my previous post, I almost wrote that I was scared of being a 'fake' relative to writing and creativity. I started to write it and erased it. But now you say it. This is so true, this is scary.

    Oh, you talk about letting oneself disappear. I like it and I don't, at the same time. Are you saying that we should let ourselves melt into the surrounding world in order to see beyond our own limits and come back to ourselves with new traces and new stories?

  10. #40
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweets America View Post
    Oh, you talk about letting oneself disappear. I like it and I don't, at the same time. Are you saying that we should let ourselves melt into the surrounding world in order to see beyond our own limits and come back to ourselves with new traces and new stories?
    I guess I'm saying that in letting oneself relate to a lot of other things, one becomes less egotistically central. Rather than feeling that you yourself have to be the font of creativity, you let it come from the world around you and just filter it. There's a great Artforum interview with Kathy Acker where she talks about her interest in plagiarism: 'I realised I didn't want character and I didn't want narrative, but I had this interest in copying.' She goes on to say, 'Writing is always hearing, or seeing or reading or else it's destroying.' The zen version is probably that you transform yourself into an empty vessel. Or recognise your own emptiness.

    Best of luck with the creative writing class! If your teacher's good, you'll probably learn quite a lot about generating ideas and find it's something where one can force the issue a bit. I find random notes can work pretty well.

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    I agree with you, I think that what you say here is intelligent. Recognizing our own emptiness, yes, that must be a great relief in way. Moreover this is a nice starting point because as you say, this is a way of opening oneself and filtering what is outside, internalizing it and rendering it through our own perceptions.

    Thanks for your encouragements about the creative writing class. I don't know my teacher yet. I am in France and the class will be taking place in Oregon. All that I know about my teacher is what a woman from Oregon told me: apparently, the teacher in question arouses all the girls' interest. Might be inspiring.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweets America View Post
    apparently, the teacher in question arouses all the girls' interest. Might be inspiring.
    lol Well there's something to relate to!

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by blp View Post
    Apparently, going into an office and hating it was more inspiring than sitting at home making pots of coffee and staring at the wall. Weird. The problem is, does this mean I have to give up some of my moral objection to office life? The fact that I seem to have needed it to make things I loved?
    I found about five starting points for what I'm about to say---starting with Sweets point about the possibility that the reason she doesn't produce as much as she wants is that she's plain lazy. Blp, and your idea about removing oneself from the center as a way to open the creative channels and working as a way toward that. I imagine many reading this found those ideas very intoxicating, but I have to be honest with you, and this is no direct attack on you in making an honest attempt to locate the source or block, but I sense it all as feel goody talk...idle chatter. That doesn't mean it's uninteresting, or I'm immune from the same criticism. Actually what you say is very interesting, that's why I'm responding to it. And what I say is idle chatter too for the reason that will become evident.
    .
    The best evidence is myself. I spent seven hours today writing a lot of bull****. I filled a marble notebook today that I started writing in last Thursday. Sweets, you talk about not having anything to write about, but neither do I. The thing that separates you and everybody with the same issue from writing is actually finding the wherewithal to get out the pen and do it.

    Jack London wrote 25,000 words a day. His letters attest that much of it was garbage. There was a Times article not long ago on the life and death of Norman Mailer. Mailer was a voracious writer, saying that it was a lame attempt to purge himself of uncreative ideas. Kerouac wrote every day, whether it was writing letters, in his journal or novel. Ginsberg not so. But Ginsy was out there, living in the world, travelling to India, France, living hand to mouth---having ultimate encounters with the people he met on the streets and integrating them into his poems. Look at how his HOWL speaks to that. Do you have this in the workplace under those awful flourescent lights? I think this gets to blp's point about using the workplace as a place to clarify one's thoughts. The problem with it remains: how many real encounters are you having in the workplace that becomes incorporated into your work? I'm not sure we can compare Kafka's notion of beauracracy in Penal Colony or Castle or Trial with his own experience working. If I'm not mistaken he worked in insurance, a very dry and solitary job reading and scoring claims.

    And as far as philosophizing about a starting point---well intended no doubt. But if you were so moved to write or paint or draw or whatever it is you say you do...if the words poured from your nostrils, you wouldn't be worrying about this notion of nothingness, or identifying with George and Seinfeld. You would have written a better sitcom by now. Well, maybe.

    As far as the source of writing being this great and powerful mystery, it's all been said before. At some point, you have to be honest with yourself---you have to hone up to the fact (based on your own inaction) that you're just not serious enough about writing. Admit that you don't love writing. Admit that writing is a very appealing project---it leaves people stupified when you tell them you're a writer. There's the smell of notoriety in that, affectation. It provides you with meaning and talk to impress others, impress yourself. It brings you closer to what moves you, what's most genuine in you, and your motives seem sincere. But other days you're not sure. You wonder. And at the end of the day, you realize you can't seem to pull it together---you can't lay down the lines, find the right words, rhythm. You're too busy trying to construct the masterpiece when all you have are the pieces, pieces that fall with a clanky clunk. Your life consists in mounds of clutter. And someday you're going to have to admit to yourself that you're just not good at it. You're meant to be a wife, a husband, an office worker (Nothing wrong with that, btw) You love the idea of writing and wish you could be a writer, but you don't have it in you to even see whether you've been called or summoned. Admit it, and you will be free.
    Last edited by jon1jt; 03-07-2008 at 08:20 PM. Reason: add
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  14. #44
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    lol. How did I know this was coming? What was that about writing a lot of bull****?

    No, Jon, it's just a matter of whatever works for you. The best evidence is not yourself, except for yourself. You know, I hope, that I like and respect you 'n' all that, but you're just on an almighty solipsism kick here. Which is fine, because I've been on one too and we can only offer advice from our own perspective. Mine is that I hate all this 'if the words poured from your nostrils/can't sh*t without writing' sh*t because it's bullying mystification. You're the one who sounds like you're going off about a great and powerful mystery – that of identity, specifically, as if there are born or divinely anointed writers. My invocation of a zenny emptiness sounds equally lame when you take it out of context, but it's a coda, framed pretty much as a quotation, albeit a vague one, to a two-point plan of pure pragmatism, which is not much different from yours: have source material and be prepared to write a lot of BS. It's right there in what I wrote. Check back.

    Shouting and logorrhea are not proof of caring a lot (for writing or whatever else happens to be on the table), certainly not of some core protean truth, anymore than timidity is proof of not caring. The former could easily just indicate the fear I was talking about earlier. You certainly sound like you're trying to scare us with this 'Admit it! You don't love writing!' schtick. The thing is, it's a crap strategy because it wouldn't scare us if we didn't care. And both Sweets and I have already said we were scared of not being able to write. So yah boo sucks! But also, in diammetric opposition to what you're saying here, I think a lot of people are blocked not because they don't care enough, but because they really want to write, but are afraid they're not good enough. Or aren't wildly, burningly passionate enough, which is the main reason I find your position here so unhelpful.

    The thing is really, I lost patience with all this fifties stuff you care about a long time ago because its particular, simplistic version of freedom is so self-defeatingly unfree. Why should I feel ashamed if I don't feel like burn burn burning like a Roman Candle every day? There's a list as long as my arm times ten of great artists who didn't either. I barely even know anyone who still subscribes to ideas like this except for, you know, a few advertising people who use it to sell Raybans or jeans. We're at a very different historical moment now, one that's partly defined by the failure of those fifties people's strategies and by their co-option into collusive, bourgeois culture of the stupidest kind. I'd love to have gone traveling the way Ginsberg or Burroughs did, but these days I'd be dodging internet cafe pizza parlours in Kathmandu and painfully aware that all my attempts to engage with other cultures were just reframed imperialism that, more than likely, was contributing to the destruction of those cultures and/or that those cultures, rather than giving me access to primal truths were full of primitive nonsense I'd never stand for at home about the superiority of men over women or the greatness of the godhead or whatever. There are vast oceans of complexity that being a beat poet or a be-bop musician or an abstract expressionist just don't get you anywhere near (with the notable exception of Burroughs).

  15. #45
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    Jon, I like blp's ideas. I thought they were very accurate. Now I admit that you are right about the fact that it might be more inspiring to travel the world than to stay at work. But it depends, it depends on what you write about, and maybe you can find feelings in a dull workplace that would make you want to write. I have noticed that I also tend to write when I have a burst of strong feelings, anger or sadness for instance. I need to feel this strength inside that urges me to write. Now maybe I'm not subtle enough to notice inspiring things that do not need me to have strong feelings to discover them.

    Of course the mystery of the starting point makes us worry about nothingness, because we feel we have no control over it. So we can be full of an urge to write and some days after we can feel very empty and wonder if the urge to write will come back.

    Oh, about your last point 'admit that you don't love writing', yes, as blp said, it's scary but I am actually scared because I think you might be right. You say writing improves the image we have of ourselves, and maybe in my case that is right, and maybe I am searching for some kind of recognition through my writing. I feel that there is definitely some truth in what you said, and maybe this partly explains the feeling that I or blp sometimes have of being a 'fraud'.
    I won't stop, though, not now. I have not finished my quest.

    Now blp, I also agree with what you wrote, and you reassure me. It's like I thought 'Oh my God, Jon is right!' but then I thought with relief: 'Oh no, it's ok, it's blp who's right'. But in the end of the day, I think you're both right and it might just depend on the situation and on the persons.

    I have always wondered about those who said 'write everyday, write a lot, force yourself to write'. I wonder if that is really effective. I've written 17 notebooks and I don't feel a change. It was a nice experience though, to write those notebooks: I wrote my private thoughts for someone else to read them and in exchange the other person wrote hers, so she wrote 17 notebooks too.

    Hey, blp, I love your 'it wouldn't scare us if we didn't care!', that is so true! And I also agree with the following of what you said. If we don't write it is also because we expect too much and maybe we don't see the interest of writing bull**** just for the sake if it. But I wonder, maybe sometimes writing bull**** would feel better than writing nothing. Eh?

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