As I’ve been doing for months now, I got up this morning at 5:15 to write. Writing is how people like me refer to screwing around because we are too chicken-shitted in social situations to admit that we screw around for “a living.” So now you’ll know what they are doing in case one of your “artistic” friends tells you they’ve started writing:
- Staring at a blinking cursor in a blank document trying to determine if the scratching noise in the computer’s hard-drive changes the rate of the blinking.
- Searching all websites, foreign and domestic, for that one awesome porn clip you saw, like, nine months ago and when you find it again, you are soooo going to save it this time, probably to a disk labeled “work files” so that your wife won’t think anything of it. Except this actually makes her suspicious because who the fuck labels a disk as non-specifically as “work files?” Writers, that’s who. The very people who are supposed to excel above all others at choosing the right fucking words for an intended purpose.
- Wondering why the scratching sounds coming from the hard-drive get louder when you’re porn surfing.
Having no success with these core job duties this morning, I thought that maybe checking the news to learn how the Nikkei had done and what traffic was like 30 miles to the west would inspire me. And then, of course, I consulted Facebook, because I fucking have to see pictures of the beers my “friends” drank last night. (If I check back again, maybe I’ll get bonus pictures of what their dinners look like in the toilet) But perhaps for the first time in social media history, a human found something of interest, dare I say value, there.
A few days prior, a friend posted a question about novelist Philip Roth who recently announced his retirement. I wonder how an artist knows that they’re “done”? they asked.
I imagine that most writers pose to themselves this question about a work, albeit in only subconscious forms. For some, such as Tobias Wolff, maybe a work is never done. “I have never regarded my stories as sacred texts. To the extent that they are still alive to me I take a continuing interest in giving that life its best expression,” he wrote introducing his story collection Our Story Begins. And honestly, what makes one a writer anyway? I still believe that writing refers more to an experience than a career, a label that can only be self-applied, much the same as only a man himself can diagnose that he is alcoholic. Only he knows whether or not he is in some phase of the process that is creating a work of words, whether that phase be the agony over ideas, staring at a cursor, putting characters in order on a page, etc., or if he is merely huddling in a corner soaked in his own filth because that’s all there is left.
And as irony likes to do, it was again bending me over. This time by getting me to wonder about what constitutes an end, or the end, when my biggest struggle is how to begin. But nevermind all that. I had my beginning, because this time I knew the answer.
As in Roth’s case, and maybe this should be the goal for all of us as writers, you are finished only when you can look back on the thing, be it an isolated work or a life in full, and see that you have created something from the perspective of a huge tit. Yes, maybe Roth, in his age, had completely forgotten about his 1972 novella The Breast in which he plays with the theme Kafka made famous in Metamorphosis.
Great! Fantastic! Now I have my beginning – boobs. It’s a topic I both know and have great passion for. Awesome, so now it should be really easy to get the words flow–