Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Writer as Bouncer

 Showing up for work as a writer, you face a range of possibilities, which include being stopped at the door by a burly, unfriendly presence who questions your credentials, the bouncer. Of course the bouncer is you, with all your previous memories of the hours of practice, study, and thought involved in causing you to think you could work as a writer.

Never mind that you have found other aspects of work, things you never saw yourself doing under any circumstances, most of all because you had no wish to do anything but write.  Forget entirely the fact that both these other things of work came your way because you were at various times in your life able to finish written pieces, send them out for publication or production/performance.

The thing standing in your way at such moments is that lovely combination of self-status, enthusiasm, and having been sold the literary equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge by that shameless con artist aspect of yourself, your imagination.

Some mornings, you duck under the restraining rope, arrive early, scarcely a sip of coffee down your parched throat, all eager to pick up where you left off. Other mornings, although less sanguine, you are curious to see how well the things you were up to yesterday have held out.

Yet other mornings, you've resolved through degrees of sleep and sleeplessness to bounce the totality of work done on the project to date, certain you had not got its intent in ways that you could live with.

In ideal worlds, worlds you do not write about, you would simply enjoy the last sip of coffee, brush croissant crumbs from your chest, then stride either to your computer or that place where you store your fountain pens, chose a tool, then begin to compose. You do not write about such worlds in full awareness that neither they nor the worlds you write about exist.

At one point in your early years, you could not wait to get to work, the better to describe every notion and idea that ran through your body like a leg cramp. Time has provided you with ways of stopping most of these cramps in their tracks. Time has also provided you with the avuncular advice whispered into your ear that the sort of writing to which you aspire has nothing whatsoever to do with description, everything to do with the evocation of cramps, pangs, temblors,and other mischiefs running through the atmosphere whenever two or more persons gather in the presumptive agenda of purpose.

One individual, whomever she or height be, may well be subject to all these mercurial passions and sea change tides, but one person alone is not enough. There must be more at hand to compound the mischief.

Thus your awareness that you write about mischief, in which you must immerse yourself before you can stride past the Bouncer who sits at your seat before the computer, or who occupies the chair next to the writing surface where your fountain pens await.

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