Thursday, December 16, 2004

When I Grow Up I Wanna...

I always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was little kid devouring books as fast as I could. When I was in high school Arthur Miller came to my English class. That's one of the perks of going to a fancy prep school, famous people come and talk to you and you don't have a fucking clue that they are a Major American Literary Figure because you're just 15 and more concerned about the big zit on your forehead than some old guy visiting your class of 12 students giving you advice to write about the things you think no one else will ever understand because that's exactly what touches people and they do understand it. About fifteen years ago I had a friend who advised that when you write something you'd feel weird about your parents reading, then you probably have something good.
I don't know how to write plots or characters or settings. I want to write about things that will make people squirm a little, not in a macabre sense, but out of some form of recognition, sort of the way it feels when you have an itch inside your foot or on the back of your shin bone. I realize that's a pretty high ambition for a person who can't even keep her shoes tied for more than 20 minutes at a stretch. But the only way to write things that make someone else squirm is for me to write things that make me squirm at the thought of someone else reading them, especially if the reader is someone who knows me. I don't care so much if it's someone I never have to deal with on a face to face basis. Most people, especially writers, are easier to deal with in this two dimensional medium. It's like the way some people will tell their life story to a stranger sitting next to them in an airplane or at the same table at the laundromat while waiting for your laundry to rinse, which is something I can't do , by the way. In those situations, I always just listen.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Trying watching the tv show "The Office" which is on BBC America on digital cable. That show illustrates the squirm factor that you're talking about for your writing. You watch the show and how the main character acts and it makes you squirm in embarrassment for him.