Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Some truth

We live in a world filled to the fucking brim with delusional assholes. How do we know they're delusional? We know this because their delusions are painfully apparent every time they open their mouths. You're embarrassed for them. You sit and listen and nod your head and let shit slide because you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings at that particular moment, but wouldn't it be lovely to stop just one of these motherfuckers in their tracks and simply tell them the truth?

You suck at what you do.

It's beaten into our heads from a young age that we're not to listen to naysayers. That we're to tune them out, because they're only trying to bring us down to make themselves feel better. That the old "Crab Bucket" analogy holds true only if one allows it to happen. That what you're supposed to do is set a goal. To continue getting after that goal to the exclusion of all else, never permitting the extraneous to discourage you and bump you off your path.

You know what, though? Sometimes it's horseshit, because some people don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting where they want to go. They simply won't ever get there, and there's not a damned thing anyone can do about it. And when you're sitting there listening to them tell you how wonderful they are, and how blind the world is for not acknowledging their talents, wouldn't it be the most liberating feeling ever to stop them in their tracks and say exactly what's on your mind?

You suck at this. You'll never be any good. Stop doing it.

I'm not talking about being a naysayer here, though. This is about telling someone who can't, that they just fucking can't. Obviously there's a context here, and in this case it's writing. And if I had a nickel for every dime-ass motherfucker who told me their blog should land them a book deal, I wouldn't need the one I got. So you read people's shit, maybe offer a few suggestions, and it's off to the races for them. And what you want to say, the entire time, is that their thinking actually insults you.

As if this happened to me by accident.

The book I've been contracted to write is the result of a life that most of you wouldn't have wanted to lead. Trust me on that one. Have other people had it worse? Of course. If I claimed otherwise, I'd be considered delusional. I'm not delusional, however, so I tend to qualify the things I've been through in my life, referring to the entire body of work as Life Experience. This, I have. Some of this Life hasn't been Experienced in the lives of others, and so they find it interesting to read what I've written about it.

Perhaps you have some Life Experience, too. When you put it to words, it seems interesting to you. Surefire. The world is gonna love me. But sometimes, if your Life Experience isn't applied at the right time and in the right place, you'll find that nobody gives a rat's ass. You may not suck as a writer, technically speaking, but if the world ignores your subject matter, it's hardly their fault, now, is it?

I have lots of life experience. I'm wise beyond my years for a twenty-four year old. I even went to Europe once.

You want Life Experience, motherfuckers? Get a job. Work for a living. Buy a house. Pay a mortgage. Have some kids. Get in a fight. Fight in a war. Get cancer. Watch someone die.


Now, I've never claimed to be the best writer on the planet. I've many long miles ahead of me in terms of refining my style and voice. And who knows? Maybe I'll be a one-hit-wonder. Maybe I'm deluding myself into thinking people dig the writing style rather than the story I'm telling. Am I the delusional one here? Whatever happens, happens. If the book ends up sucking, I'm assuming I'll find out quick, fast and in a hurry.

What I do know, however, is that I'm capable of writing in full sentences, most of which are grammatically correct. I can take those sentences and piece them together to form a paragraph. I've proven, at least to myself in writing this book, that I can cobble together several pages full of paragraphs and turn them into a chapter. And so on. Occasionally, I can pull something out of my ass and come up with a passage that gets me some attention. Shit happens. Blind squirrels and such.

Most people can't do this, you'll find. With many of those who can, my eyes glaze over before I get halfway down the page. What kills me about people is the fact that they simply don't understand the time involved in learning how to write with any degree of skill. I can do this because my mother raised me to be able to write. Because I grew up in a house filled with books -- my mother's influence, obviously -- and not reading them all was simply out of the question.

Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, Tolkien, Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, Stephenson, Thoreau, Emerson, Kipling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Many, many more. We had, in my house, an original set of the Harvard Classics that was given to my mother by her uncle, who was a Catholic priest and a professor at Holy Cross. I've read nearly every volume cover to cover. We weren't permitted to take them out of the living room, so I'd settle myself in the middle of the floor and immerse myself in the Rubiyat of Omar Khyyam, to the exclusion of all the crap going on around me. I'm likely the only bouncer you'll ever meet who has read both the Book of Mormon and the Koran.

My father looked at this and assumed I'd turn out gay.

Why mention all this? Because if you're some half-assed blogger with literary delusions, yet you can't write in full sentences, you need to know how much work it'll take for you to get your sorry ass up to speed. I'm not saying the process requires nearly thirty years of daily reading, but if you suck, you'll continue to suck for quite a while, and it's going to take more than a line edit here and there for you to get your shit together.

I've written previously about how every man thinks he knows how to fight. And about how both men and women -- with one notable exception -- all think they know how to drive. And how professionals in both fields will tell you that ninety-eight percent of the population can't do either.

Add writing to the list, at least in the blog universe. You can't tell people shit about their writing, so I stopped trying long ago. Page after page of nonsense. Boring, illiterate nonsense. By idiots, about idiocy. Which is all fine and dandy if you're doing this because you enjoy it. But if your work sucks the cock, and all you can do is mouth off about the success of others -- erroneously thinking, of course, that your work doesn't eat a fat dick -- you need to be told the truth.

And wouldn't that be lovely?