Popularity is the one insult I never suffered
Thursday, 29 September 2011
You know, when I was faced with writing my first blog ever, I thought what the hell could I write about? Somehow it seemed daunting, different from creative writing which I find incredibly easy; the fingers just taking over, one word leading to the next, and then before I know it, they’ve created a whole new world, it’s 4am, and I’m well on my way to lung cancer. But blogging isn’t the same – or at least, so I thought, until I decided just to take the same approach anyway; type a sentence about my real life and see where it all went. But thank God the obsessive compulsiveness that, apparently, I have in a good way (according to one of my many ex-friends) couldn’t be catered to because of issues with my web-server that prevented me from publishing this new website last night. Yes, what I’d turned out was a complete and utter diatribe that laid into two Asian women, a nosey parker fat (white) man (but the kind everybody hates) the homeless, and the City of Vancouver’s latest bi-law that is simply yet another money-grab scheme designed in order to rob loving pet owners of their hard earned cash so that the City can actually pass it onto the homeless.
But no, this morning when I woke up with a pounding headache, I was glad I hadn’t published all of that; at least not in its hateful state anyway; my anger issues from childhood still materialising from time to time, obviously. But thinking clearer, as I do first thing these days (who knew I’d turn out to be a morning person, after all) I thought my first entry should be a diatribe geared at the writing world in general, given that this is a site about writing.
My professor said that I showed off. My immediate thought to that was, ‘yeah mate, that’s why you’ve had one short story published in all these years and you teach writing instead of publishing it.’ Well that, and because it soon became obvious that he had the imagination of a gnat, whereas mine soars the unknown. But he might have been right, jealous, but right - at least in a sense. I do show off, I know I do. But if you got it, flaunt it (to coin the cliché and not showing off by inventing my own like I usually do... like I’m supposed to do as a writer). So why shouldn’t I show off? Isn’t that what it’s all about? Apparently not, for you see, in my experience, despite the fact that everybody calls for originality, nobody actually wants it - or so it seems. Neither, does anybody want to have to work at reading, wonder just where the author will go with the plot; take the time to dwell in well-crafted literary phrases and clever exposition. No, apparently, they want it up front in a ‘cat on the mat’ styling - and bonus if you happen to have your main character being a Vampire.
Personally, outside of Vincent Price playing Count Sforza, and all the other old black and white movies from childhood, I have no idea about modern day vampires; I’ve steered clear of such stories and am sickened by the obsession that the world continues to have with them. I have no doubt that they are entertaining for many, but what I am getting at here, is just that; the human propensity to be mediocre, to go with the flow, to be told by society what it is you will like now, that my fate seems to lie in the hands of the teenage girl demographic – one that I have no connection to whatsoever, and nor do I want to. Any true artist, who writes for the love of it and doesn’t want to simply jump on a bandwagon to make a buck, as many of us writers could if that was all that we were interested in, would say exactly the same. In fact, they have done for time immemorial.
But what I would love to find is a literary agent who actually stands by their rubric; their claim that they are searching for exciting new authors. One who would actually take the time to recognize original talent when they see it as opposed to only accepting those who recycle the same story over and over again because perhaps technically it’s perfect, but one who won’t throw your work to the wayside if they happen not to agree with where you placed a comma. Did you know that most people who write computer code, could never possibly design an aesthetically pleasing website? Same thing, for the most part, in my experience, and agents are supposed to offer an editing service, don’t you know? Having said that, one agent told me that they loved the polished nature of my work, but I got the feel that he thought it was too polished. Showing off? You see this in Hollywood movies too; more often than not, every chick flick the same; serendipity rife, somebody, usually successful young professionals who can afford to do anything they want, and who loves their best friend’s boyfriend being the biggest obstacle they face in the story. But don’t worry, missed opportunity always comes right in the frigging end, and everybody gets a more suited partner, the same with assassin movies; the main character always becoming the target themselves when they decide to retire. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the same old, same old, and I am sick of mediocrity in general. Which is why I hate people – well not people, per say, rather the predictability of the human race; nobody thinking for themselves it seems; waiting to be told what they’re going to like next. Well, I’m telling ya... to like me... but then... I don’t come from a privileged background; not the son of somebody important, far from it, but if I was, anything I wrote would be hot of the fucking presses.
Talking of exposition, I wonder how many reading this, got ‘My Ex-position-al Life’ on the opening page of my personal website if they visited, and not just the clever pun on the title, but the actual expositional account of my life there? Anybody? Either, or? Unfortunately I felt the need, because of the aforementioned gripe about that, to spell it out in the second page, ‘About Me’. I guess that could be typical of what my professor meant about showing off though. So, to some degree, trying hard not to compromise who I am, I have therefore adapted much of my writing style to cater to that, just like I did there – a tragedy in my book, if you’ll pardon, or even got that cheesy pun. But you know, I sent that as my biography to one agent, as an experiment, show that I’m different while displaying my writing skill, who knows if they even got it, despite the fact that you can add a ‘signature’ to an auto-response email, most agents don’t even bother to respond, disclaiming the need to get back to you simply by saying if you don’t hear anything, we’re not interested. Exactly when did the world get so fucking rude?
But I’ve always been strange, or so they’ve said, different, au contraire, etc, however some of the best artists of all time have been too, and trust me, I’ve been compared to many, living and dead, by those who’ve actually taken the time to read some of my work, other authors, and dare I say, fans, even, and at a time when I was completely amateur. ‘Where do you get that imagination?’ they always say, ‘How can I write like you?’ ‘How do you come up with this stuff?’ ‘Wow, I’ve never read anything like that in my life.’ ‘You’re funnier than the best BBC writers of all time.’ Why then, if that’s the public’s reaction, doesn’t an agent see that? Well, I’ll tell you... because they don’t look, they’re inundated with submissions, they read the first sentence only half the time, a sentence of a story that blends in with thousands of others of which they haven’t paid full attention to, hardly giving it a minute let alone the time of day. And yes, I do know that the first sentence, the first paragraph is ‘make or break’. An American Idol contestant on day one of the audition process is at least heard; unfortunately it’s not as easy for a writer, a true writer, one that was literally born to the pen and not just one another person who has a story to tell. One whose characters are realistically nuanced and which don’t conform to the norm - but then isn’t that the problem? It seems so.
And lastly, don’t talk to me about the digital age; that’s no different than trying to get an agent or a publisher, in fact its worse; everybody and their dog with an E-book for sale, all undercutting each other trying to promote the pieces of shit that many of them are; misspelled, no plot, no formula, scribbling like sparrows scrawling in shite with no training in the creative writing process whatsoever, turning out their predictable first drafts written over the period of a full week, and all serving to drown the otherwise labours of love that some of us have taken months and even years, and many drafts later, to create, in an ocean of mediocrity that has only resulted in the reader becoming suspicious of all us budding writers.
One thing is for certain though, writing a blog certainly isn’t all that removed from creative writing at all; it just affords me a different style – ‘Diatribe According to Paul’ (that’s my middle name, but it sounds more biblical) is perhaps what I’ll call this blog when, maybe, just maybe, down the road, these collective little entries might just turn into a book unto itself.
Okay... now that I’m on a roll... if you do want to see the diatribe regarding the Asians, the fat man, the homeless, and the City of Vancouver, I’ve decided to publish it after all – to hell with it... to hell with you all – especially agents. Is this where I’m supposed to put a lol... anybody... anybody at all?
I’m crap at poetry, I try, but I didn’t got a clue
About assembling art out of unintellectuable rhymes
Trying to establuish words that I didn’t even knew
And that would be better said in mime
I really nearly competently hate utensiling my brain,
Trying to like, you know, come across more clevererer
But really my words are obviously quite insanely inane
It’s honestly entirely just about a nearly pointless endeavour
I hate using poncy words that verse me and don’t even try to disburse
Pretending they have meaning what I know that they is
My attempts at the written spoken word just can’t get any worser
Methinks towards illitergisimy I’m leaning, my poetic justice amiss
So I’ll save you all wondering, and disclose I haven’t wroten with flair
Cause I know I ain’t in the abyss of witty wits when it comes to writing right fancy
So I’ll take my little doggerel for a walk, having thunk that you’re now aware
At least (like everybody else) I am original in the inside of my and your inner psyche