I4 Nx

I've written before about the Anxious Neurotics I used to counsel, and how most of them were in one way or another interesting, in that they were likely to have unusual experiences, fascinating preoccupations, or novel themes to parade and examine with, and—especially—for, the amazement of others who by propinquity or like accident, or design were in position to be subjected to a share of the often well-articulated skein of garbage the donors were invariably inordinately proud of.

Deep breath.

I remember remembering how by the end of the second or third time these peoples' garbage was co-sifted, co-sorted, arranged in serial and parallel lumps with perhaps only their uncommonly common contents in common it became at best boring and more likely offensive in some way debilitating to the party of the second part; how some fortunates could sneer, leer and divest themselves of the presence of the shifty sifters, and hie them to some locus where light and enlightenment was at the very least possible; how the garbage-owner cum patient was most fortitudinously enraged by implied deprecation in the landscape of turned backs, a vista that must have been common from earliest memory.

Nufffffffffffffff f uf uf uf uf          fuhhhhhhhh

I now suppose that there is smaller difference than I had imagined among the worlds of those "simple" sifters and shakers and the perhaps better-girded, less permeable, more carefully-tuned and more durable (in the sense of endurance and percentage of perceptible resources devoted to maintenance of a posture or integration of experience, or indeed, in experiencing experiences) carriers; that among the latter the names for the phenomena of garbage-sifting, sorting, stacking, polishing arranging and parading are more dignified, remote from roots, less likely to generate general scoffing, but that the process (we are process, aren't we?) and its motives are in my supposition congruent, communal, nominally the same and no less powerful within one vessel than in another.

Mufffffffffffffff f uf uf uf uf        fuhhhhhhhh

I start another paragraph with "I" so my readers will not forget it is not them whose words are assaulting their sensibilities, although for my own self I can usually tell if what I am reading is my garbage or the detritus of someone else's spastic but sincere exudations of inner environment: it is mine, not yours, yet, and you are welcome to adopt what piece appeals to your own habits of collection or rejection as overlaid on the facts, fact, facile façade of the self you own or rent-to-own and that you habitually reveal or not, purposely or not.

(chorus: )

(I digressed. Oxygen debt. Things got a little black around the edges.) Eventually the shifters became the garbage. The co-dependent co-sorters gleefully leaped upon the warped, and woofed happily at the prospect of shifting and sorting and skeining and purling SOMEONE ELSE AS GARBAGE.

(ibid. )

I ask you:

Isn't that weird, and a sign of weakness?

Isn't doing even a fine, fine superfine mashed potato in someone else's decayed, putrifying, maggot-ridden, gorge-raising, slippery-slope slick, pants-leg adhering gut-grease the mark of ONE SICK PUPPY ?

I mean, girds or no, style or none, performance-tuned or no, doesn't a compulsive carrion-stomper eventually stink like dead animal entrails? Don't those particles racketing around in the neighborhood of the stomper's contacts' olfactories leave sense-memories among the most vivid and influential? Do we not remember best and foremost the stench when the carrier's shade passes over the cortex?


© Copyright 2002 TwinkleInMyEyeProductions, Frank S, Proprietor

The alt.writing "Natural" Rant

What you kneed to know:

One of the ways to learn answers to your questions is to read the back issues of this group, available as product of a goooogle grooooups search.

You don't know what your questions should be. One of the ways to learn what your questions should be is to read the back issues yattata yattata yattata.

Two pissy little whimperers in one week do not a happy newsgroup make, although it does please certain marksmen no end. You can tell a pissy little whimperer by his assumption that graceful and effective use of derision, invective, and profanity is associated with immmaturity. There, that makes us even, m-wise, as far as immature goes. Mature folks are not particularly concerned with the concept or constitution of "mature" as a descriptor or component of behavior, attitude, appearance, or social intercourse; cigars, wines, nymphets, writings, maybe.

I think it is cute to be a wannabe novelist, and even cuter that you think anyone other than Mommy and your really good wank-partner Liam is likely to encourage you on the basis of a stray lump of prose-like wordery that obviously escaped you unnoticed only to fall out of your pantleg and into your awareness.

I say none of this to discourage you (or any other pissy little whimperers who may chance by) from wanting to become a writer or novelist, from striving toward those ends, or from regarding what you do as worthwhile and commendable. It is without question worthwhile and commendable. Think of that classic Gaussian Curve: someone has to occupy the 90 percent not allotted to Dedicated Declaimers, Well-known Writers, Successful Scribes, and Charming Charlatans.

Think of this, also: Being A Writer is different from Becoming A Writer; Writing A Novel is different from Being A Novelist; Being There is different from The Party.

One of the marks of immaturity in a psycho-social sense is a lack of appreciation for the role of investment. I do not speak of monetary investment, of which I have little and little knowledge. Think of investing time, work, dedication, study, punctuality and punctiliousness, intelligence, and discernment. Believe that the tale of Aladdin is an expression of the immature hope for transformation of wishes into realities without the necessary-in-the-real-world drudgery of showing up on time every day and doing what you have to do whether or not you feel like it.

There is a point at which one can declare, "I have written a Novel." There is a point at which one can demonstrate, "I am a Writer." One does not arrive at those places by rubbing one's lamp or wick (unless you are Philip Roth, and you aren't). One progresses toward these admirable ends-that-never-end by passing through sufficient time. While one is making the passage, one must apply significant resources to critical matters of inspiration, organization, logical assembly, mechanical assembly, strategy, tactics, salesmanship, marketing, public relations, and monetary investment. All the while maintaining a semblance of sanity and productivity in a hostile, dangerous, predatory world.

The length of time is very short for some, but I submit that the amount of intellectual and moral energy invested, if leveled over the population, will be seen as approximately equal for all genuine successes.

My seem generator tells me persons who plop a dab of some barely-identifiable substance into a newsgroup and request an evaluation are hoping to hear The Natural Incantation:

"Hey, I am an expert at discovering natural talent, and boy does it shine out from your (story idea, excruciatingly simple but penetrating prose, language sense, musicality of thought patterns, et cetera). Don't worry about a thing, kid, you're bound to be a success. Don't discard even one scrap of your work: someday it will adorn the walls of sophisticated domiciles, if you get what I mean."

Well, OK, kid, here it is:

You are a Natural. Success and acclaim will be heaped upon your work and your self. History will pivot on your publication dates; however, the way Fate operates is like this: if you work diligently and hard, study intelligently, deny yourself the luxury of self-deception; give and receive with true charity; acknowledge debts and satisfy creditors; find a way to live that does not deprive or endanger others and allows you be an enhancement rather than an aggravant and stay as sweet as you are, there is a very, very small chance you will be prepared if fortune offers you her crutch.

Fate does not smile on lazy, thoughtless, self-involved wannabes, even though they might be "Natural" as Nature her own self.

In closing, let me remind you: as in automobile driving and love-making, there is no good reason not to perform with precision at every opportunity.



Frank S

Because it's connected, here's some of what Ernest Hemingway told his protégé, Arnold Samuelson*, about writing:

The most important thing I’ve learned about writing is never write too much at a time… Never pump yourself dry. Leave a little for the next day. The main thing is to know when to stop. Don’t wait till you’ve written yourself out. When you’re still going good and you come to an interesting place and you know what’s going to happen next, that’s the time to stop. Then leave it alone and don’t think about it; let your subconscious mind do the work.

The next morning, when you’ve had a good sleep and you’re feeling fresh, rewrite what you wrote the day before. When you come to the interesting place and you know what is going to happen next, go on from there and stop at another high point of interest. That way, when you get through, your stuff is full of interesting places and when you write a novel you never get stuck and you make it interesting as you go along. Every day go back to the beginning and rewrite the whole thing and when it gets too long, read at least two or three chapters before you start to write and at least once a week go back to the start. That way you make it one piece. And when you go over it, cut out everything you can. The main thing is to know what to leave out. The way you tell whether you’re going good is by what you can throw away. If you can throw away stuff that would make a high point of interest in somebody else’s story, you know you’re going good.

*With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba

© Copyright 2001 TwinkleInMyEyeProductions, Frank S, Proprietor

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