A little BWA pro-tip: When I get like this, I shoot myself in the face with a gun. That usually gets the ideas out.
[Censored: I replaced all profanity with references to “Deepthroat” by CupcakKe.]
Why are you reading this? What the Deepthroat by CupcakKe is wrong with you? WRITE SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Get your Deepthroat by CupcakKe off the internet and onto Microsoft Word, or better, a yellow legal pad. Come put it down. Why are you still reading this Deepthroat by CupcakKe? What do you think is going to happen? You’re not going to magically become some kind of Deepthroating writer by reading CupcakKe advice columns. GO CAKING WRITE, you stupid cup. Get the lick, lick, lick, lick out of here. Why are you staring at me with your mouth wide open like I was a dentist? GO.
Okay, now you done cupcakKed. You done cupcakKed now. You cupcakKed up. You must be some kind of dumb mother-deepthroater. You must have an IQ of 1.3. One point to know how to read, and .3 to be smart enough to do it with your eyes open. You probably can’t even speak a sentence.
Okay, so what I’m going to do, is end this article early so you can go write. And you better do it. Don’t you dare read the rest of this stupid updates-once-a-year website. Throw your phone into oncoming traffic. Toss your computer monitor into the county morgue. Get away from people. Take off your clothes. Arch your back. And keep only one thing – this poetic advice on writing by one of the world’s most profound writers:
“Don’t need a pen or a pencil
All I need is my body
… My fingers in it, gentle.”
Is this some kind of sick game to you? I followed all of your instructions and didn’t see one nudie picture, not one. So if you could just delete my credit card information, I’ll be canceling my account at your ‘bink rating’ website. Thanks for nothing.
Stories used to inform us about humanity. One might read about lions in Africa and it’d be about the human condition in some sick, twisted way. Today’s stories have become glorious spectacles with the implication of relevance but no true depth, like a cocktail that’s all umbrellas and no juice. That’s a good thing, because it’s much easier to purchase mini-umbrellas than to learn how to mix drinks properly.
So go ahead and write about smoking pot and how that guy you’re sleeping with probably doesn’t love you. Who cares if it’s just a series of sensations ordered to have the appearance of a narrative? Just call it post-modern. Call it stream-of-consciousness. Call it free verse. Call it personal narrative. If you have trouble writing extensively, call it anecdote.
Don’t worry about saying anything bigger than your beer gut. Write from your life and about your life. Start with the here and now. Write about this very moment. About how you’re reading a writing advice blog because you’re too scared to start writing yourself. About how you’re distracting yourself from the real work you need to get done, because you know that once that work is done, you’ll have to face your purposelessness on this planet. And if you’re depressed and closing this tab to explore happier realms, write about how you’re tumbling through imgur and reddit like they’re the endless tales of Sherazade. Write about how you’re probably going to die without accomplishing anything. And even if you were given the chance, a couple hundred years of healthy living, you probably still wouldn’t be a great writer.
Why is all of this important? Honesty is the first step in telling a good story. So go look at yourself in a mirror and be honest. Note the pimples, the moles, the awkward ears, the unexplained peeling. The acne snuggling beneath your skin like ocean polyps. Have you gained a few pounds? Is your hair receding? Are you ugly even when you look your best?
What you’re seeing are the concrete details of your existence; the facts that everyone sees. These are your descriptions, which you should take pride in even when they disgust others.
Once you learn to see the cracks in your face, you’ll be able to see the cracks in your own writing. Even a quick skim will make you want to throw up. In fact, you’ll know you’ve made it when you wake up late in the night, panting and sweating, and you begin tearing apart your latest short story. Your significant other will ask what’s wrong, and you’ll push him/her away, maybe head into the bathroom to look at yourself in the mirror. You’ll pound a fist into the grotesque mask that responds you in an attempt to free yourself of its burden.
Can you see death in that face? The leering skull, hidden by folds of fat and well mostly fat? The portent signs, the end of things, and with it the suddenness and inevitability of your last gasp on earth?
Good! You’re well on your way!
Look, puny human, you’re not alone. I too want to get out a few literary quickies before I give up the ghost but am intimidated by the great minds that have come before. How can I write anything that compares to Milton’s Paradise Lost or Arthur Miller’s The Crucible? Or even those poor-grade writers who churn out an ebook every six months?
Unfortunately, by allowing other writers to intimidate me into awestruck paralysis, I’ve played right into the hands of the Literati – a conglomerate of scholars and publishers that want me to buy classic books, and consequentially books about classic books, without making any impact other than a light wallet.
In retaliation to phallogenic capitalism, we must ignore all literature that comes with a price tag or bar code. Ignore even the free pdf, lest you be tempted to err. Don’t give in to the exploitation of the ancient writer! Just look at how the Literati has commercialized the scratch work of a dyslexic pervert like James Joyce. Let’s honor his wishes and put Ulysses to rest from prying eyes.
Read in the now. Write in the now. Don’t let claims of criterion or canon lead you astray, and you might even churn out the next 50 Shades of Grey.*
*Naturally, if you follow my advice you won’t know what a 50 Shades of Grey is, but that’s for the best.