If you're a regular reader, you might assume that I write about pretty much everything that goes on in my life, no matter how disturbing, boring, or humiliating. That is actually not the case. There are lots of boring things that I don't write about. About the only disturbing and humiliating thing I haven't written about was that time I lost a bet with a zookeeper about having a bigger penis than a gorilla and had to jack off an ostrich. That's one family reunion I'd really like to forget.
My point is, I spare you all from quite a bit of mundane bullshit that is my life. Which is why you didn't know that I have been contemplating giving up on this writing nonsense.
Here's the deal: writing has always been my thing. When I was a kid, I wrote stories in sticker books. I made up fake newspapers for the family. I sent letters to Hustler.
A lot of people say they write as a form of therapy. For me, it always went beyond that. Writing is what kept me from choking people to death in the grocery store. Or burning down the world.
Writing was what I did when I was scared or angry or sad. It was what I did when I was happy or excited or bored or indifferent. It was what I did.
Writing is one of the few natural talents I have (the others are snorting Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and drunk-dialing). It has saved me from myself on more than one occasion, and I like to think that maybe it has helped to save others on occasion, as well.
But it kind of stopped being that. It started being just another thing that I had to do, another chore, another job.
I never really suffered from writer's block until last fall. I was taking a pile of classes, and every spare thought I had went into school stuff. And for the first time that I can remember, the ideas stopped coming.
You see, I used to always have ideas. They didn't always work as stories, but I always had something to start with, something to work with. And then one day I didn't. I'd sit down to write, and there would be nothing. Just the white page, just the time passing, and then I'd have to force myself to go to bed.
Failing at writing is not something I take very well. I don't mean failing to impress others with my writing. You can like what I do or hate it or ignore it or whatever--that's up to you, and it doesn't matter to me when I sit down at my desk and double-click the word processing icon. But when I sit down to a white page and stand up three hours later with that same white page, that's rough.
So I had my first dose of writer's block, and it gradually got better. Blah, blah, blah, time passed, whatever.
A couple months ago, it got hard again. I was going to work, rushing to school, and then getting home at night with the task of writing looming above. Had to write, had to have something to post. Believe it or not, there are a few people who complain when I don't post regularly. Sure, they generally skip over the shit I do post, but you take away that option, they bitch and moan like I've pissed in their glove compartment. Again.
Also--and you have the choice to believe this or not, too--I kind of take The Strangelands seriously. I want to draw in readers, and I want to keep them. I want to entertain them and keep them coming back for more.
So I'd get home, and I'd try to write, and I'd have nothin'. Or I'd end up with something that was too lousy to post, even around here. And it got me to thinking.
About how much time I spent on writing. About how nothing was happening with it--financially or personally. I looked back over my stuff and was unimpressed. Or embarrassed.
I realized that I was wasting my time, I was never going to be able to do this as a living, and there wasn't enough time for it otherwise. Every time I sit down to write, there are a hundred other things I could be doing, that I should be doing.
And I thought, "Screw it. I'm done."
It scared me, and it made me lonely, but it also felt strangely freeing. Analogy time: You're driving across a bridge when you suddenly lose control of your car. You try and try to get things back in order, you're manipulating the wheel, pumping the brakes, you're freaking out. And then you go over the side--it's all over now, all out of your control. You aren't enjoying it at all, but you don't have to try anymore, right? You're done, it's out of your hands.
Probably not the best analogy, but it's the first one that popped into my head. I was done, and I didn't have to think about it anymore.
I didn't make a big deal out of it, because I didn't want it to seem like a cry for attention, "Appreciate me, or I'm taking my ball and going home!" I think I only mentioned it as a comment to a comment. No big deal. I just stopped writing.
But then I got an email from an internet friend. Also a writer, she explained that she knew how frustrating it can get, and asked me to think it over a little bit longer. So I did.
I decided that I've been doing this shit too long to just quit. This sounds cheesy as hell, but I thought that since my writing has saved me so many times, I should at least try to save it before putting it away.
When I say "try to save it," I mean try to make something happen with it revenue-wise. I know it's stupid to write strictly for financial gain...sacrilegious, kind of. But sometimes the almighty dollar is the only thing that can buy you more time to do what you need to do, right?
So I made out a plan. It isn't a good plan, or a stable plan. It probably won't be a successful plan. But it's a plan, and that means at least I'm trying. Step one in my plan: making little booklets out of some of my short stories.
I figured I'd pick out a few short stories, make them into little books, and drop them off in various coffee shops, book stores, whatever--that's what this entire post was going to be about, until I went off on a poor-me tangent.
I wanted to get my name out there, maybe catch someone's eye. I don't know. Like I said, it's not a very good plan. The next step is to get a whole bunch of rats, and shave them and tattoo my name on them, and then release them into the city.
No such thing as bad publicity, right?
Anyway, here are the booklets I've made so far:
The Envelope, which can be found here, if you're unfortunate enough not to get a little booklet.
Here it is opened. And with the flash turned on, because my apartment is too dark.
You can read this one over here.
When it's open, you can tell it says "Options" instead of "Dptions."
So…sorry about dumping out all that shit about quitting writing. In my defense, I was waiting for water to freeze so I'd have ice cubes to put in my gin. Yep, I'm Mr. Fancypants with my iced gin. Be jealous.