Monday, August 08, 2005

The Name's the Thing

I cannot see how anyone makes a living by writing. Oh sure, there are those writers who seems to just luck out in a particular genre, like J.K. Rowling with the Harry Potter series. She's richer than the Queen of England now, all from the doodlings of an idea on a napkin when she was an unemployed single mother on welfare. Why couldn't I have come up with the idea of a boy wizard? Probably because my mind is always about one or two steps behind the Next Big Thing.

Just writing this blog is a chore sometimes. I'll sit around and fiddle with ideas, type something out that I think is more boring than the warnings that comes bundled with my prescriptions, then backspace my way out of trouble and start all over again. If I was a newspaper writer, I'd be toast in a few days; either I'd have trouble coming up with stuff to say on a daily basis or I'd constantly overrun the space limitations. Those of you who've been reading me know that verbosity is probably my middle name. Why use one word when a whole phrase will do? Nope, the editor would kick me out on my keister faster than Superman could change in the janitor's closet.

It isn't that I haven't any opinions about daily events or the world at large; heck, I've got 'em coming out the wazoo. No, I usually question whether or not I've really thought something through and whether or not what I've written makes any sense at all. I look back at some of my earlier postings and wonder just what the heck was going on in my head that day; I hadn't been drinking (might have been better if I had) and I sure hadn't written an outline and gone religiously by that as a guide. Nope, I just wing it here, typing away in my spare time with whatever pops into my head.

My style can't be called stream of consciousness, since I'm not really just laying out random thoughts like Steinbeck's dimwitted narrator in his little imaginary county in Mississippi or in Joyce's Ulysses (which, from all accounts I've read, is SO hard to read and bizarre that maybe I do have a future in this business--just make it really, really long and hard to understand and you too can make a fortune!). Nope, what you read is something akin to what I would say to you in person without the constant repetition and mumbling, just with a few more moments of reflection dumped into what's going through my fingertips onto the screen.

The two hardest parts of this writing stuff are (1) The TITLE and (2) The CATCHY LAST LINE. If I can figure out the Title, it helps to set the tone for the rest of the piece, but it's that Catchy Last Line that seems to be the thing that might set me apart someday, that'll make me a little more like my hero, James Thurber. That's what is so difficult, trying to be witty and urbane in my writing like Thurber was in coming up with that last little twist before you log off my site, something that'll make you laugh or make you think.

So, what's with the Title of this piece, you may ask? Beats me, I was shooting for something else and got on a tangent. And where's the Catchy Last Line? Ask me after I get home and think about it for a while. It'll come to me...

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