Wednesday, April 11, 2012
why is writing painful?
listen, i'm the first person to guffaw when a famous writer on a talk-show wails, 'it's so difficult!' hey, come on, i've watched you crying all the way to the bank. can it really be that hard, putting one word in front of another? after all, most creative writing mirrors society. prophecy? well that's best left to practical people and scientists. no forecast of the future has ever proven true. at least, not in it's details.
all this being said, for most of us writing a real chore. mostly, i suppose, due to making us think. we enter into the world of dualisms. light versus dark, good versus evil, male versus female. the list is endless. and once engulfed by opposites, we be begin to suffer shades of grey. 'it's almost an egg, but it might be a carrot.' all kinds of unanswerable questions arise. not only that, describing a state of mind, an event, everything becomes a question of opinion. and then we suffer the buddhist hell of feeling everything an illusion.
different kinds of writing, does it make a difference? once i met alex haley, renowned author of the diary of Malcolm X and roots. he'd learned his craft in the coast guard, writing love-letters for the other sailors. '200 a week' he said. that's some school for a scribe! does it come naturally to anybody? 19th century letter-writers incredibly phrase-worthy. the education of those so privileged must have been grounded in useful rules, like setting up a joke: don't let the laughs be big on the setup, or in the second stage of suspense, save most of it for the surprise, THE GUFFAW, if you like.
has the internet and texting made a dent? people seem less afraid to make mistakes. like with digital cameras, everyone's been freed to be an artist. gawd, how i cringe every time i hear anybody can be an artist. we might as well close the museums now. as for great literature, we'll have to be satisfied with blogs, like this one. personal revelation, what else is left? everyone may have a story - and be the dullest bore telling it.
back to photography and visual storytelling. tried it a couple of times this week with my iphone. a new tool inspires me, even if it leads to my digging my own grave. check these out:
http://www.pbase.com/wwp/east12 and http://www.pbase.com/wwp/def