Friday, 15 July 2016

[ margaritaville ]

There's a quote somewhere that says; write what you know, and another that says something about; if writers waited for the perfect time to write, they'd die before anything ever got written. 

In that regard, bear with me. This is the first thing I've written in a while that hasn't been rolling around my brain for a week or more and gathered steam on its' own.

I'm off to Melbourne for the weekend and full of nervous energy at the moment. This usually happens on any trip I attend, so is reasonably normal, except for the fact that I'm off by myself this time. Alone. Unaccompanied. Unsupervised.

The mind boggles...

Back to the writing. I wanted to post something before I go, and then again not long after I return. Hopefully something I'd written while away, inspired by chill winds, bright lights, and heady cocktails. 

That being said, much like fake crying, I can't just write on command. I need something - anything - to spark me off. A particularly potent onion would even do the job; once you get the tears flowing, something usually comes out on its' own, prompted by the weird, uncomfortable feeling of self-inflicted pain. But I'm not sure where literary onions may be, let alone what they may be, or how to apply them. 

Enough about veggies.  When it comes to writing what I know, apparently I know a lot of random...stuff. Superficial political stuff. Current events stuff. Practical life-knowledge stuff. I even know a reasonable amount of interpersonal relationships stuff (which needs to be clarified with the fact that I appear great at assessing other peoples - not so much my own all the time). 

It presently comes down to what I know about writing. In quantifiable, awards / transcripts / certifications-on-paper terms, this amounts to nada. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

Ok, not exactly. But you get the picture. 

Anyway, I haven't taken any writing courses since college - and yes, that is as long ago as it sounds. I don't know any current tips or tricks of the trade, and I certainly couldn't write a book on writing (which, to be brutally honest, sounds unbelievably dull). 

What I did figure out was this; I know how to bullshit. Like a champyon. If there was an Olympic category for fuckwittery, I would win Gold for Australia and retire by 40.  

I've basically spent the last two years and five months of this blog crafting written versions of internal conversations I have. Mainly with myself. Sometimes with characters or even real people I know, in my head. Which still means; by myself. 

I guess the reason I've assessed my bullshit-o-meter as scoring so high is that I actually spend a serious amount of time in these internal conversations. I walk to work and have mock-arguments with myself. I go to lunch and think about what the response to a certain train of thought might be. I lie awake at night, turning over twists of phrasing, and whether they amuse (usually me, hopefully others). And people do seem to like my stuff. 

Sometimes I wish I was funnier. I wish I could make people laugh at the drop of a line, as it were, and have a crowd in the palm of my hand. I never pictured myself as a comedian per se, but the idea definitely appeals now. I know I used to command attention as an actor, and still have that ability to a degree, but something about making people laugh as I get older holds so much sway. 

Jack of the Trades was never about being funny, or even getting a following. Not really. It was about getting the maelstrom out of my head and somewhere I could control it.

Though this doesn't mean I'm not enormously grateful for the support. The opposite in fact; I probably would have kept writing no matter what, but my confidence in topics have grown exponentially with the interest of those who read my work.   

Where I'm going with this is; whether a feast or a famine, I know the writing will come to me. There was a period of maybe a year there where I only posted something once a month, sometimes even bi-monthly. That was sad and due to any number of factors - job and failing relationship being the main ones to be sure. 

That being said, even those times produced some work that may not have been up there with my best, but certainly stuff I'm proud to have put together. 

What I know about writing is this; there is never a good time to start. There's never a bad time. It's all just time. I kid you not, my friends. In the immortal words of the great Terry Pratchett, writing is the most fun you can have by yourself. And no one day is going to be better to start than another. 

What I love about writing is that there is no wrong way to do it. You just write stuff.  And especially if you only every really write for yourself, it doesn't truly matter if it's good, bad or indifferent.  

Eventually, it is nice to have others read your work and tell you how awesome you are. Sometimes that happens, sometimes not. The other thing that's good about writing? You know you're a writer when you keep writing no matter what people say about your work. 

Some weeks the ideas come thick and fast, and I'm left with five half-assed blogs, at least 3 of which will never see the light of day. Others, I get just one bare-seedling of an idea that doesn't quite take hold until I start writing (clearly, this is where some of the more ludicrous rants began).  

So, what do I know about writing? Keep writing. Do whatever it takes. Read the news headlines, watch reruns of Seinfeld, go stare at Circular Quay. Whatever inspires the juices to flow. Head interstate, drink a little too much, and write until your wrist hurts. Inspiration and ideas will come. You just have to be patient*.

And on that note, I'm off to a little place I like to call 'margaritaville' to seek the muse. See you in three days, amigos!



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