Fucking writers. To them, everything is about the goddamn story.
“You talk like a writer,” I have been told and I know instantly that they are hearing yarns from me, not just words.
You make a yarn by taking some facts or actions and then adding a whole crapload of point of view. It’s all about the voice and the voice is all about the perch where you stand in the world, how you observe the movements and linkages from a very particular vantage.
Anyone can put facts on paper. Most people can even string out some kind of narrative. It takes an asshole writer to bind all together with the chopped glue of an observer who has learned to polish their own turds with oblique and cut edge turns of phrase.
Writing is collecting the fragments of smart and sharp then lacing them together into some kind of beaded necklace, telling a tale from end to end while still looking like a shimmering whole.
Some are better at collecting, some better at finishing, but the goal is always the same, a ride through a subject that holds attention. Forcing people to turn their head and see what you see, you crystallize vision, offering others sight beyond sight.
Authors, well, they are writers who know how to make writing into product, maybe slabs of saleable cold cuts, maybe recreational excursions, or maybe even transcendent tellings of breathtaking detail. Those last don’t come along all that often.
Mixing facts or plots with voice, a rancorous point of view, becomes in the end, a foul habit. Writers mine the very details of others lives for fragments all while striving to essentialize a stance which can be engaging and distinctive. We don’t have to be nice or balanced, we just have to be compelling. If you haven’t got anything nice to say about people, then come over here and sit by to me, as Alice Roosevelt Longworth is supposed to have said.
Those who write on outhouse walls
Roll their shit into little balls.
Those who read these lines of wit
Eat these little balls of shit.
The best revenge is writing well. The one who tells the tale owns the story, as those who read my after-meeting memoranda soon found out. It can be useful to be quick and engaging on the keyboard, fixing a view of history in print.
Writing is hard. That means everything you put into it has to be there for some bit of meaning, either intended, obscured or unconsidered. We write for intention, loading text with meanings, but we read for consideration, searching the glimpse of purity that has slipped hot from the teller into the story. Those blips code pure energy slipping a spark from our eyes to our tongue, a shock to our own speech.
Mastery of writing not only comes with much toil and focus, it also comes with a high price. Only in the void can writing be exact, entering an empty chamber where words can be spun into simulacra. We stay at a distance in the world, note recorder at the ready, storing up observations, and then we withdraw from the world to construct our work, details mortared in with voice.
Always hearing the possibility of illumination and decoration keeps us in our page more than with the grunt. One ear out all the time leaves us not there and there, seeing and essentializing in complex bounces through the panes.
New voices always have to come with new audiences. Even as you write for yourself, you must become new as you shift the voice, for without remade ears, everything ends up running to shrill.
Without deadlines, would there ever be an end to writing?
Without the fickleness of audiences, would there ever be a new voice demanded?
Damn writers. Consumed by process, their creation laced with hope and laden with clay.
Trapped in a voice, terrorized in a tale.