Monday, March 26, 2012
The Unexpected Goose; Why I've Got No Balls
in the backyard
shouts at the garage
Perhaps its goose positioning system went awry. That would explain why it was standing in the middle of a residential area with no water in sight. Why it found my garage so offensive, I've no idea. It is an ugly garage.
The Rumpus' Sugar (identity now revealed; I long for the days of anonymous masked superhero writer advice columnists again) had a saying: Write Like A Motherfucker. They emblazoned it on coffee mugs. At first, I was all, "YEAH! I'M GONNA WRITE LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER!" And then I petered off directly after that.
For some people, having big balls is the way to go when it comes to putting words on paper (or the screen, more accurately). Personally, I've always wondered about the whole testicle thing. I mean, how do men walk around with those things hanging there? It's this extra bulk that I don't understand. Don't get me wrong; I love balls. I find them extremely sexy. I just don't think they'd be comfortable.
I'm not sure how this turned into something about genitalia. Let's go back a bit. In both a literal and metaphorical sense, I don't want big balls. I don't want to run at the screen with a jackhammer and carve something bold. I don't want to blaze the truth of my existence anywhere. I don't, personally, want to be my own superhero.
This is how I like to write:
I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountaintop, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten -- happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.
-- Brenda Ueland
For years, I've felt like this. I enjoy writing when I'm quiet and happily putting the beads on the string.
So, here's the deal. There's a lot to learn about writing. I say "learn" not "know," because unless you're Mark Twain or Flannery O'Connor or Shakespeare, you will never know anything. And there's a good chance that even Misters Twain and Shakespeare didn't know as much as they'd like us to think. That Ms. O'Connor, however, was a helluva writer.
I haven't been keeping up on everything on the interwebz for months now. Too much "information." A real overload. Self-pub, e-pub, traditional pub, marketing, this one's got a new book, that one's got a new collection, this editor says this, that agent had this advice. I think I'll just keep on stringing beads, and maybe when I'm done, I'll have a necklace about on par with the construction paper garland I made for our Christmas tree in first grade. I'd be pretty happy with that.
PS What you should really take away from this is that I like balls. I REALLY REALLY LIKE BALLS.