Skip to main content

Look At Me



Why do you write?

It’s a simple question right?  I mean, why write?  Why spend the amount of time and energy and resources it takes to do this?  Why subject yourself to judgement and rejection and criticism? Why?

I don’t know why I do it.  I don’t know why I spend so much of my time inside my own head, inside my own world, why I lie in bed plotting, hearing conversations, making my characters live in my imagination, why I sometimes can’t concentrate at my pay job because I am lost in my story, why I am distracted when people are talking to me, why I sometimes can’t remember appointments or errands because I’m lost in the flood of words.  I don’t understand why at all.  I just know that I always have.  It is a part of me that I have never been able to excise, have never been able to burn out with various poisons.  Even at my worst, even when I pushed everyone away, the writing has stayed. I have always written, when I was young and fast and dumb, when I was an emotionally wasted wreck.  Even now, when time slips away so fast and my children grow up before my eyes and my hair turns grey and the days bleed into one another, even now I write, sitting at this keyboard at midnight after a long day, even now, when I need to sleep, even now I write, because that is what I do.  Because I am a writer.

The writing is partly about control.  I can make the world behave the way I want it to, in a way that makes sense, in a way that seems to follow some kind of prescribed path.  I get to offer resolution, a nice bow to wrap events in, in a way that the real world can’t.  If I allow it, my characters get to say all the right lines at the right times, they have the comeback, the witty retort.  I can define who is the bad guy, who is the good guy, assign them their respective hats, and make them dance accordingly.  The abuser is bad, the child innocent, everything falls into polite little boxes.  In our writing we get to play make-believe and display our creations, we get to pretend that there is really justice, that there is really order, that there is any real resolution.  

It’s also about fear.  I get to write about things that I am afraid of.  I get to explore things that would destroy me in my life.  What if I lost everything?  What then?  What if it was me that did it, what if I was the monster that I have feared all along?  What if I was helpless, what if I was dying? What would it be like if I was hurt or sick or irrevocably damaged?  What if my wife is lying when she tells me she loves me?  What if I lost control?  And it’s so safe here in the black and white, it’s so safe here in my cozy chair with the crickets chirping outside my window and my children and wife sleeping in the next room, it’s safe here to open the closets and lift the bed and let all the monsters out, to make them show me their teeth and claws, it’s safe here in the black and white, because I’m pulling the strings, and I can put all the monsters back under the bed when I am done playing with them.

It’s about showing off, too.  I know the lie; we all write for ourselves, right?  But if that were completely true, we wouldn’t need an audience would we?  Someone not liking our stuff wouldn’t hurt our feelings, wouldn’t damage our oh-so-fragile self worth, would it?  Really, if I am being honest, and I try my damnedest to be honest in my writing, even if it seems threatening, if I am being honest, there is a Hey Mom No Hands element there too, a touch of Look at Me and See What I Can Do.  Because I have talent and I know it; I make the words dance and flash in a way that most people can’t, and I want to show the world, I want to shout out my value, show that I’m different.  Maybe you can draw better than I can, maybe you can salsa dance, or run, maybe you can speak in front of strangers, maybe you know what to do in an emergency, but I can do this, I can make people see pictures in their heads, I can make the words dance and flash... Hey Ma, no hands, hey everyone, look at me, look at what I can do.  It is pathetic, it’s stupid and shameful, but yeah, I’m a show off.  It comes back to fear, and a deep and unrelenting belief that I am not good enough, that I never will be.  It is all a show.  Look at me, love me, tell me how valuable I am, so maybe one day I will really believe it.

Some days it is all of these things, and some days it is none of them.  The real truth is, I write because I like to.  I write because it makes me feel good.  It isn’t always great, it is hardly ever easy, and often it can be frustrating and a little awful, but at the end of the day I write because it is better for me than not writing.   

Look at me.

Still Writing,
RP
7-9-15 

If you want to contact me, comment here, or I am on Twitter @RDPullins, and I am on Facebook.  My first novel, Antiartists, will be published in the spring of 2016 on Pen Name Publishing, and has it's own little Facebook page, too.  Go and give it a like, if you wanna.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

So I find myself wanting to write about politics, which I hate.  I want to write a scathing review of our political system, and the douchey asshats that we have elected to represent us, because it is something that vexes and frustrates me on the regular, and what I do is write about things that bother me and then I feel a little better.  It has worked well for me and my personal well being; just doing this blog and airing all my personal laundry for all to see has been as cathartic as anything.

But I hate politics.  I think that it is intentionally divisive, designed to make us see the world in an "us vs them" mindset, to see the whole world and our place in it as sides in a game, a bloody and terrible game.  It makes it easy to start painting the opposition as something other than we are, which in turn makes it much easier to think terrible things about them, that they are racist idiots, that they are stupid takers, it makes it easy to say awful things to them, especially f…

We Would Be a Song

I seem to define my life with soundtracks, playlists that encompass epochs or periods of change or development.  My earliest music was my mother's: Van Halen and Judas Priest, Def Leppard and AC/DC.  I remember a friend of hers explaining to second grade Ralph that the big balls that Angus was singing about were parties, but even then I didn't buy it.  My teen years were heavy on grunge, Nirvana and Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, and that was the first time that music ever felt like it was mine, that I discovered by myself or through the radio, or like minded friends, that was the first time that I took it and owned it and loved it, and even now I'll hear Black Hole Sun or Rooster or Smells Like Teen Spirit on the radio and back I go.

In the fifth grade, I moved to Kelso, Washington. I want to say that it was hard, but what I remember mostly from childhood is just this sense of taking every day as it arrived.  What else do we have except our own experiences to measure thi…

Die Laughing

I want to die laughing.

I imagine it, this big final guffaw, watching a video of someone falling down or being attacked by a goose, just this terminal laughter, a giggle or a wheeze, that's the way to go out. We're all dying, just some of us faster than others, some are torn away and some drift off, but the destination is the same for each and every soul on this beautiful miserable planet.  Whether it be by accident or murdered by time, we are all on the same ride.

I want to be taken away by the Death of the Discworld, like I imagine Terry Pratchett did, the classic hooded skeleton, blue fire eyes.  On the Discworld, you pretty much always get what you expect; the afterlife is what you believe it to be.  I imagine Sir Terry, wherever he ended up, laughing his face off, turning his brilliance on the world itself, holding a funhouse mirror up to distort images into strange shapes, recognizable, but seen from a different perspective. Godspeed Sir Terry. Mind how you go, sir.

I want …