Friday, August 31, 2012

Laissez Fucking Faire


Although you enjoyed portions of your early years of education and had great conflicts with other portions, the years where you began attending colleges and university and outside lecturers, all the while beginning to read titles not on any class list represent to you the step between looking at the tools in your tool kit and putting those tools to work.

In recent years, where you’ve spent a good deal of time in one class room or another, it might be argued that although your job was teacher and you acquitted yourself with honest intent, you gained more as a student than as a teacher.

During all those years in classrooms and lectures, you’ve had sufficient opportunity to understand that in all of them, lecture-hall-large and seminar-room-small, there was always present at least one individual you’d call the equivalent of a troublemaker. Such a person has, in your experience, been called a wise guy, smartass, perhaps even anarchist or self-indulgent showoff.  You are certain of this because there is some likelihood that the individual in question was you.

This potential for assuming roles, student, teacher, eager listener, sincere questioner, rabble rouser, malcontent, crank, and argumentive for the sake of argument resides in you, but you’d be making a huge error in judgment if you were to assume such roles did not exist in numerous individual types.

By progression, then, you are now able to ask yourself questions you’d not considered with any measure of seriousness before:  Has your writer self ever got into arguments with your teacher or editor self?  Has your teacher self ever been called to account by your writer self?  Has your editor self ever been vexed to the point of near explosion by your writer self?

Take some time to think about these potentials for confrontation.  In particular, think about them in relation to the times—and admit it, there were times—when you pushed yourself away from your computer or pen or, before those times, your typewriter?  (Remember as you reread this that there were innumerable times when you did so in the uninformed belief that you had nothing to say and, thus, why bother?)

There is something to be said for the times when, new and in an I’ll-show-you frame of mind about writing, few if any of these internal squabbles existed.  You were still as the saying goes wet behind the ears or unread or untaught in relative terms.  You are not trying to build a case for shifting the blame for the times you talked yourself out of a day’s work writing on your education.  To do that would be erroneous and wrong.  Education was stepping in on the scene and adding an array of outside voices to compete with your inner voices.
There were times when you chose the wrong voices to listen to.  To some degree, you believe you’ve learned when to let the critics and teachers and editors back in the room.  In similar perspective, there are times when you learn to listen to and trust the editor within and the outside editor.  And there are times when what the writer wants seems so mischievous and fun that the other guys have to wait in line before they have their say.

You are thus approaching the potential on any given day for an attitude and climate which remind you in many ways of the circumstances at play when the discussions with individuals of known political differences from yours bring forth the subject of politics.

You are not going to convince them to any degree that will change their politics.   You may win the occasional argument, but you may just as well lose them, nor will they in any substantive way change your own core beliefs.  Laissez fucking faire.

You will attract some readers and, with diligent pursuit of craft, perhaps attract more, but you will do so through story, not through argument, okay?  Story is not argument; it is the deployment of emotional information and resonant details that make the information seem more real than it in fact is.

You will not, as a writer, out argue your inner editor or teacher, nor should they attempt to out argue you.  They will.  This is their nature.  You must let them laissez-fucking faire.

Okay?

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