Thursday, 10 April 2014
Writing, writing, writing...
writing wrong is OK
I've written since I learned to write.
Unlike a lot of people I carried on beyond the point of just writing Xmas and Birthday cards, or the occasional letter of condolence or application forms. That was writing before the social net was thrown over everybody with a PC. Then people started writing again. And we could all see how well or badly people wrote.
Like a kid given a build-it-yourself space lab containing every actual component in miniature - wow! I've got to do this! The masses began writing, writing, writing. Comments - inane, absurd, aggressive, puerile, stupid Comments below articles and YouTube clips which, when you read, you wish home computers had never been invented.
Facebook writing - it's easier to just hit the Like button! So people do. But some try to write. Why not? Just because they can't doesn't mean they shouldn't. Democracy in action! The heartfelt comments regarding the loss of a pet, a friend's illness, the death of a celebrity - tragic. Moving in their innocence. No witticisms.
Meanwhile the male of the species sees this writing in public medium as a means to show of his prowess, his knowledge, his wit, his intellect - look how smart I am, world! It's what most men do instead of club each other to death. We have to prove our virility somehow.
Writing, writing...I wrote stories as a kid whilst my family watched TV. I wrote in my room when I finally got one - long letters typed on my first machine, impersonating Kerouac, badly. Remember writing letters? Perhaps you're old enough. I wrote letters to girlfriends in London and waited for returns to drop through the letterbox, seeing them on the carpet there - what joy? One used to send letters doused in perfume, sometime cuttings of her hair inside the folded paper. That now seems like an old age of romance compared to emails modern lovers might receive, or private messages on the network.
I wrote fanzines. I even wrote novels, if they can be called that in an unpublished state. Now they sit on paper packed into big brown envelopes stuffed into a cupboard. I will never read them again but can't part with testimonies to a time when I was so optimistic, hard-working and deluded, probably. I even took a writing course in the late-70s. How To Plot. And so on. It took me years to learn to lose the plot. Then I was free. Then I joyfully worked with text, calling myself a 'text worker' instead of a 'writer'. Moving other people's words around was much more fun than making up the same words in a different order to try and create a story.
A novel? How passé! I've always enjoyed other people's novels, though. Let them do the work - entertain me. Beckett, Burroughs, Greene, Chandler and so on. Now I can read without wishing I could write like that. Bliss.
Now I can write here on this blog. The common advice is to 'write what you know'. That's rubbish. Blogging is freedom. which may not always lead to anything of interest to anyone. But the writer will have hopefully enjoyed herself. Even if that post amounted to an outpouring of grief. Therapy. Writing can be that. It can be anything. Like Art. Except, by it's very nature, writing non-fiction, commonly, then, known as 'fact', is supposed to 'make sense'. Supposed to convey cohesive thoughts. Yes? No. Let writing be. Applaud nonsense. It means something to the writer, doesn't it?
There's too much common sense in the arts. You know it. Perfectly composed pictures of mundane subjects. Perfectly written and produced songs expressing nothing much in a totally unimaginative way. Yes, I applaud certain kinds of perfection. a Motown classic. Debussy. Whoever. But the quest for perfection and only achieving competence (the by-product of those who aspire but lack imagination or talent) is what deters so many would-be creators. Take a writing course? Go away. The goal of the pupils: create more mediocre novels to join millions sitting in WH Smiths. But at least they're published! Yes. The world is full of totally mediocre product. It sells. It's what the majority of the people want. Isn't it? The mediocre is magical to them. They wonder how novels get written - it's a magical process! No. It's not. It's laborious and methodical and reads like it was.
I have written enough now.
If you exist, rather than being just a figment of my imagination. Goodbye.