Welcome to the second literary campsite. I promise that it won’t be any better than the first, but I never promised anything about the first either. I get tired of competition and I’m not about to introduce it to myself as these damned missives to the world continue. You can go screw yourselves if that’s what you want.
Some time ago I got sick of being slick. I tried so hard to be slick for the sake of selling my words that I started hating myself. Now I just want to write and if it comes out as appearing slick (of quality) then that’s a good by product, but I won’t chase it anymore. It’s putting the cart before the horse when you do. That carrot ain’t so tasty anyway.
A lot of people know I’m a writer and they ask me how I can do what I do. Well, I would like to address that question here on the campsite today. First of all, for all of you who don’t consider me a writer, I welcome you to the campsite. Please stop reading now. For those of you who consider me a writer because I am writing now and you are a writer because you write I also offer you a hearty welcome, but writers are few. So for that one percent of you who are still reading because you are a manic word gobbler I will say this: I don’t know.
John Steinbeck, one of my favorite authors, said he had learned a lot of technical tricks on how to be a writer, but once he sat down at that blank page was as lost as anybody else as to how to do it. The process begs questions, unanswerable questions, to produce answers. What part of our minds actually does the writing? That’s a biggie because it asks you to look at your very process of thinking. That’s one that makes us lose fifteen years to the study of ourselves. If you pick up an addictive habit add five to ten years. To get out of it I went and got a graduate degree in a subject called “Mythological Studies with an Emphasis in Depth Psychology.” That added five years to my dumbfoundedness in addressing this question.
Now, having failed miserably in answering the basic question of how do we write, $30,000 poorer for asking, too, I come up with the same thing that your high school teacher came up with who didn’t get lost in the world of reality questioning, got a good stable degree, made 30,000 the same year I lost it: Writing itself is the answer. Put the seat of the pants on the chair. The answer comes in the process, the feelings you discover during the process, the uncovering of the mysteries.
The question cannot be addressed empirically unless you want to enter James Hillman Hell. This is a place where seeking types try to become scholars and yet the scholarship consists of believing that unreality has in its kernel, its core, the notion that it is just as real as the real. God is as real as Bread. The inner is as real as the outer. This is exactly what I believed as a child of an artist and spiritualist type mother. But you can’t just take it in. You have to forget you know it in order to know it. It’s all confusing and barely worth your time that Buddhist monks must say over and over for twenty years before they kick aside a pebble and for some reason gain enlightenment. In our society this is not practical. Trust me I’ve lost many very marketable years chasing after the answer.
In sum all I have to say about this particular question is “don’t ask.” Get a business degree, soup up your Chevy, get laid and please, find a pot to piss in.