On not writing
Most of the day, most days, I sit in front of this computer. When I’m not at this computer, I’ve got a smartphone in hand. It’s rare that I’m disconnected, not generating words. But I don’t seem to write. Ever.
I self-identify as a writer, but what does that mean if I never write anything. I write, but I don’t write. Maybe this is something that only other writers understand. When your chosen identity is based on the generation of words in an order that conveys a new and interesting concept or somesuch, what good are you if you aren’t doing that. If all I do is write things on Twitter, on Facebook, in emails, in other short-form blatherings, am I actually writing?
The other day, I read a really great blog post in a similar vein by @themanwhofell. (Again, weird thing here… I know that he’s a writer named Greg Stekelman (who, unlike me, has actually had a real book published in real life, which I’m seethingly jealous about), but I only know him, or feel comfortable referring to him, as his Twitter name. Complete with the @.)
Anyway… if we’re writers, but all we write are 140 character bitch and moan posts on Twitter, and sometimes comment on blogs, are we writers. I don’t know if I am.
Another Twitter-related thing has set me off, too. On Adam’s recommendation, I finally read Goodnight, Jim Bob. (An aside, I like that the Amazon listing credits two authors — ‘Bob’ and ‘Jim’.) It was hard to read at first because, here comes Twitter, I’m used to reading @mrjimBob writing 140 characters or less at a time (again, despite his public famous guy persona and whatnot, I have difficulty in referring to him as anything other than his Twitter name). It was difficult to not read the book in a choppy way. When I sat in the sun reading it, getting horribly burnt and ending up with my traditional summer look of a pasty pale spot on my leg in the shape of a book, I got past that, but again… there was the lingering bitterness. I know he’s also written another book. A novel. It’s been published. I want to read it. I have not written a novel yet. I have not had one published. I don’t know if anyone would want to read it.
Ok… that last bit is a lie. I’ve written part of a novel. It’s tucked away, unedited, unloved. I don’t want to look at it. I want to write something new and different. I don’t want to waste my time on that thing anymore. And I don’t know if anyone would want to read it. Maybe some people I know, who would want to find the bad representations of themselves. Even they would probably tire of it after a few pages.
(Another aside… I just had a Doogie Howser moment, where I actually looked away from the screen and sighed.)
I don’t know if I’m a writer. I write. But it’s all a bunch of crap.