Saturday, June 28

an insomniac's missive to the writing community

there's very few things i regret in my life, despite having many, many regrettable occurrances. i have no idea how to spell occurrances -- some writer, huh? the main thing i regret is never taking advantage of the offers i received when i was very young. i could've cowritten an (admittedly destined to be terrible urban outfitters kind of thing) book. i could've worked for the voice. i could've written for many publications, actually -- i was being courted. and i never did it. why? self confidence. greed. you make more money being a desk jockey. i got a lot of attention being a desk jockey, back then (real estate firms only hire ladies that can attract clients), but it was attention in a way that had limited pressure. you know? a mistake, avoiding real pressure.

so i guess that is why people like julia allison (who cannot write) and emily gould (who is a gifted writer) annoy me. emily more so than julia, even though julia's insipid columns are in my magazine and my webpage every week. because emily is talented. she has a gift for painting a picture.

but here's the thing. remember the old writer's adage, write what you know? do you guys--the emilys, the julias, the jakobs, the keiths, the me, the everyone honestly--know what you do not know? yourselves.

you do not know yourself. you possibly can never know yourself. so write what you know. book reviews, movie reviews, thinly veiled fiction, funny stories of the subway life---but stop writing about yourself. you gotta be about 70 until you actually know yourself, for real, and even then, my handful of years working in a nursing home tells me you might not even know. write what you know. write what you know right NOW.

you have no reason to trust me. i'm an anonymous person, signing checks with names that are not mine. but seriously, i'm asking everyone to trust me. you know your city. you know your friends. you know fashion, maybe? you know other books. you know your parents. you know booze. write about what you know.

when you're 70, and you have actually learned how to know yourself, THEN write about you. at that point, you'll be old enough that certainly something interesting has happened. until then, please stop trying. it's actually not worth your time. even gifted writers will be torn apart -- and it is because you are ignoring the golden rule of writing what you know, what actually speaks to you.

and now i drain a kitty's infected ear again. glamorous.

3 comments:

rgin said...

...and you just gave carte blanche to slut machine to continue existing...

ally said...

ugh. don't give me this.

Alex in NYC said...

Damn well said, Ally