Friday, February 04, 2005

Response to Bogus Gold

Posted by Craig Westover | 2:08 PM |  

Doug Wiliams (Bogus Gold) wrote me an open letter about an article I'm bugging him to keep submitting to some mainstream publications. But he has a problem.
The problem is that I'm not all that fond of banging my head against the old media wall. I respect their role, and their audience. But I'm not really smitten by their media vision or future importance. And, unlike them, I don't do this for profit. I do it for a combination of fun and (occasionally) because I find something too important not to mention. And does either of them really apply in this case?

I guess when one gives life to a potentially hideous "monster," one has a certain obligation for its care and feeding. So, here goes, Doug.

There are three kinds of “writers,” and make no mistake, if you put fingers to keyboard, you are a “writer.”

There are those who like to write; there are those who like to have written; and then there are the rest of us who would rather we were bound, gagged and forced to listen to Laura Billings read Nick Coleman columns than sit down and write. The latter is not to deny there is a certain euphoria when ideas erupt and words flow, but like most euphoria, the downside usually finds one with his head over a metaphorical toilet.

So which kind of writer are you?

I can’t identify with people who “like to write.” Nothing is more terrifying that clicking “New Blank Document” and those first tentative taps on the keyboard followed by rapid punching of the backspace key and wondering is this the time that inspiration and imagination are going to petulantly sit on that 90 percent of the brain that goes unused. I don’t understand how that is enjoyable -- and yet people do jog.

The people who like to “have written” I understand. I went to college with them. Of course most of them never “have written” anything, but when they do, they will have had plenty of practice acting as if they “have written.” Then they will hang out with the people who “have made movies.”

Those who hate to write? We write because we have to. Sir John Suckling, one of my favorite Elizabethan poets (only a literary geek could have favorite Elizabethan poets) wrote --

Love is the fart
Of every heart:
It pains a man when ‘tis kept close,
And others doth offend, when ‘tis let loose.
Ideas are the flatulence of the mind. And when the mind is churning, it is sometimes less painful to sit down at the keyboard and let those close-kept thoughts explode -- and oft times that others doth offend but it feels sooooo good.

So, I repeat, which kind of writer are you? Answer that question and you’ll know what to do with your piece.

Good luck.