Sunday, November 19, 2006

Why do we write?

Category: Suggestion Box
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Old Comments

  • I write so the voices in my head will leave me alone and stop demanding that I curb my dog, put the lid down, and consume mass quantities of hydogenated vegetable oil. That, and the fact that I’m trying to hone a skill that doesn’t involve lifting large objects or otherwise subjecting myself to manual labors beneath my dignity. Not that I don’t like physical activity; I like to sweat. I just don’t like being made to sweat against my will. Okay, so that’s it. I write to silence the voices and stay unsweaty. A rather common pair of drives amongst many compelled to write, I might guess. Some of you may have more exotic reasons, like you’re an Albanian exchange student in Baltimore working on your English. Or, you could be weaving secret industrial espionage instructions along a web of operatives instructed to monitor writing workshop websites for updates on The Leader’s next order. Or, you could have had a joke printed in Reader’s Digest once, got your $25, ran to the stationary store, and have been scribbling verbose, tangental diatribes on your Strawberry Shortcake memo pad ever since. Or, you could have been told by Miss Brescia in 2nd grade that your essay, deftly titled “Steal This Coloring Book”, was a masterpiece of sarcastic indulgement, revelling in post-industrial mistrust of authority figures and film projectionists named Marvin. That would have been my third choice.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/24  at  10:34 PM
  • “IndulgeMENT”? Did I really write that? Urghh. I beg your indulgence. That was awkwardish.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/24  at  11:21 PM
  • I know a lot of smart people - friends and family - and I think they would cheer me on if my writing was as useful as I think it is.  Since they don’t, I question the value of my writing.  Obviously, they won’t cheer me on until they’ve read stuff that I’ve written.  So I’m giving the four households that my parents and siblings live in each a package of thin books - Issues 2 and 3 of Literal Translations, and a copy of my book of old short stories, Brain Juice.

    I write for two basic reasons.  One is to get stuff out of my head so that I can look at it later, trying to to see it from the perspective of someone that didn’t create it.  The other is still because I have a lot of ideas - concepts - which I imagine could accelerate human progress if they became widespread.  So I write to spread them.

    I spend most of my time writing and reading, but I would very much enjoy shifting that away from software code and toward prose and poetry.  The trouble is that I’m apparently much better at the software - or at least that’s what the paycheck suggests, and money talks LOUDLY.  I guess I’ve answered the opposite question - why I don’t write.  Oh well.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/25  at  02:13 PM
  • For the life of me I can’t figure out why I can’t think up a joke worthy of being printed in Reader’s Digest.  I’ve been reading Reader’s Digest for my whole life, since I could read, and I still can’t think of anything that would quite fit in there. 

    Dave, can we have a Reader’s Digest Anecdote Writing Contest?  And then we could submit the winner to Reader’s Digest? 

    I think it’s a skill.  I’m not sure what it would be useful for, but it’s gotta be a Skill.

    Posted by julianyway  on  01/23  at  02:59 AM
  • I suppose I could make a Reader’s Digest Anecdote category.  How do we decide when to close the contest?  Once it closes, we should leave some time for people to vote… How do we motivate people to vote?  Maybe $100 of the prize (is it still $300?) should be split between everyone who voted the 1st place piece above the 2nd? (Of course, only if RD accepts the anecdote…)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/23  at  08:42 PM
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