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Why Do It? by Ray Printer Friendly

Man. What a long day, and what an unproductive night. Trolling the waters, looking for writing contests. Why? Long story. Just something I do sometimes. Look for an agent, check out any writing contests, write daily for this site. Just something I do sometimes.

Trey said something to me the other day about how I seem to be putting a lot of pressure on myself about this writing business. ďWhat happened to the old days, all that ĎI just write to write,í shit?Ē he asked.

I fumbled around, trying to get some explanation out of my alcohol-lazy mind and mouth, and my answers werenít satisfactory to either one of us.

Why do I do it? Because I have to. I still write to write, I still write because if I didnít, I would go nuclear on the world. Or perhaps if not with a bang, with a whimper. It would be like crossing the streams, is what Iím sayiní. It would be bad. I write because I have to.

So whatís with all this bullshit about running around, looking for an agent, looking at writing contests, trying to have something on The Strangelands every day? I think when I was talking to Trey, I babbled something about not wanting to be a failed writer. That set him off pretty good, let me tell you. I got to hear a ten-minute tirade about all kinds of stuff, and it was actually pretty coolótoo bad I canít remember any of it.

The thing is, I got distracted, and I never clarified. The thing is, Iíd rather be a failed writer than a customer service manager at an electronics store. I would rather be a failed writer than a warehouse worker in a pool-supply company. I would rather be a failed writer than a plumber, a trashman, a short-order cook, a fast-food counter worker, or any of the other shitty jobs Iíve done over the years. I worked in a video store for a while, and that was pretty tight. And I worked in a print shop, where I got to make my own t-shirts and shit. That one, it was just the coolest job in the world, hands-down. I donít care, man. Youíre a spaceguy with cool laser guns and jet-packs and you have a trained monkey that knows how to use throwing stars with ninja-like accuracy? Yeah, bitch, but look at your shirt. I had some great shirts, until I got too fat to wear them. Sometimes I pull them down out of the closet of the past, and I dump whiskey and cigarette ashes on them, just so theyíll know theyíre still loved.

Not the point, though.

The point is, I donít like what Iím doing with my life. I mean, the giant muscles are cool, and Iíve always maintained that chicks dig scarsóeven if they are chemical-burn inducedóbut I make shit money doing hard labor. Itís all fun and games until you realize that youíre supposed to be a grown-up.

Iíll be honest with you: when I first got this job, it was sort of coolóI felt like I was 19 years old again. Because when I was that age, I was working my ass off for shit money, and life was all a big party. The biggest problem I had was finding a connection or someone old enough to buy booze for me and all of my wacky friends. Iím not saying that my life now is a big party, by the way. What Iím saying is that the memories were there, that it was like reminiscing, you know? ďOh, yeah, I remember busting my ass all day and going home and cracking a cold beer, and then my friends showed up with their cousins, and thatís when the party really started. Seems like all my friends had really hot cousins, I donít know why.Ē

But in those days, shit pay was still great pay, because I had nothing to spend my money on except for music, booze, and whatever crazy shit we could figure out for the weekend. And do you know I once went an entire year without doing laundry? I just bought more clothes. I had to throw out the gigantic pile of old stuff because it had some sort of crazy-ass mildew growing on it that attacked people that tried to take it to the laundromat.

All fun and games until you realize youíre supposed to be a grown-up. All fun and games until you realize that you are a grown-up, whether youíre supposed to be or not.

So here it is: the only things Iím good at are writing and lifting heavy shit. So thatís it, Treyóthatís why Iíve been pushing myself with this writing stuff. Because I donít think Iíll be able to lift heavy shit forever.

And even if I could, I donít want to, you know?

I donít know. Iím tired, so Iím going to bed.

But before I do, I want to say one more thing. ďOh, Ray canít just shut up and go to bed? Big surprise.Ē Yeah, yeah, shut up. Another reason I push myself is for you. Thatís what I told Trey. ďI write for whoever shows up, man. If they come back to see if thereís something here, I donít want it to be a waste of time.Ē And do you know something? Iím indebted to you, Strangelanders. Because youíve made me find a place inside me that I didnít know I had, a reserve of imagination that I hadnít tapped. Youíve made me push myself. And hell, maybe youíre just that one guy sitting around in his underwear, eating microwave burritos and checking out the site because you canít get your donkey porn to download fast enough. Itís a possibility, but thatís not what I think.

I think weíre a people, weíre a group, weíre a cyber-tribe. United by whatever unites us, weíre just us. And thatís enough. Weíre Strangelanders, you know? And whoever you are, Iím glad youíre a part of my tribe. And Iím glad that Iím part of yours.

ĎNight, Liíl Homies.

Entered By Arglor From NYC
2006-04-04 03:33:55

Back when I lived in Louisiana, I worked on a loading dock for a liquid mud company. My job consisted of loading and unloading 50lbs-100lbs sacks off of pallets and then driving the pallets around to the crane and watching as they were loaded on the boat. Several of my other "responsibilities" included weed-eating/lawn mowing, paint chipping/painting/pressure washing huge tanks and pipes, and of course mixing the unbelievable crap that they called liquid mud. Point is I worked with a lot of people that are facing the same dilemma you are. What kind of job is that for a 50+ year old (i'm not saying you are 50+ btw). You throw your back out and suddenly what you relied on for making money is now gone. The stability just isn't there. I remember that during those years, all i wanted was a job that paid me enough and kept me out of the god damn sun. I hate nature though. I respect you for attempting to chase the dream of a writer. You certainly have skill and talent for writing. You can compose ideas and you work harder at writing then i've seen a lot. Those are all necessary for a good writer. Good luck friend, i know you got the skills, you just need to get your work more well known. You should definitly quote this website on your resume. Any publishing, even self-publishing, looks good.

Entered By Ray From Austin
2006-04-04 11:44:16

Thanks, man. And, yeah, the sun totally blows.

Entered By sandy From Unknown
2006-04-05 02:21:25

Before "The Strangelands" there was Ray and his writing...I've always been a fan!!!

Entered By cj mf'n klein From nrh tx
2006-04-05 04:33:11

ray, man its been a minute since I've seen you, or talked tou you for that matter, BUT I'm back and rehabilitated. Its good to see you're still yourself and doing what it is you want to do. I'm not gonna say alot at this moment because it's a bitch trying to type with the tip of my left middle finger missing. Damn drilling rigs. I'll keep checking out this site if you keep writing because you like writng. And yeah man, the sun really f'n sucks!

Entered By cj From Unknown
2006-04-05 04:36:28

can you even say f'n here?

Entered By Ray From Austin
2006-04-05 12:16:00

Wow. Shout-outs from the old school homies. Unexpected, but welcome. I've been forcing my words into Sandy's headholes for ages, it's true. And yeah, CJ, we say f'n and then some.

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