Huff

While there is plenty of room in the world of Words on Paper for therapeutic, ranty, jabby, disjointed stream-of-consciousness freewriting, I generally think the best writing comes from a place of control.

As a reader, I appreciate feeling that the words I’m absorbing have been crafted deliberately, have been given time to gel, have undergone some review, have purpose and ration propelling them.  This is why I adore writers like Philip Roth, who wrote, with masterful control, ”The only obsession everyone wants: ‘love.’ People think that in falling in love they make themselves whole? The Platonic union of souls? I think otherwise. I think you’re whole before you begin. And the love fractures you. You’re whole, and then you’re cracked open.” This is why I adore writers like Alison Bechdel, who wrote thoughtfully of her family’s dynamic, “It was a vicious circle, though. The more gratification we found in our own geniuses, the more isolated we grew. Our home was like an artists’ colony. We ate together, but otherwise were absorbed in our separate pursuits. And in this isolation, our creativity took on an aspect of compulsion.” This is why I love writers like Wallace Stegner, who wrote, with admirable intelligence, ”You can plan all you want to. You can lie in your morning bed and fill whole notebooks with schemes and intentions. But within a single afternoon, within hours or minutes, everything you plan and everything you have fought to make yourself can be undone as a slug is undone when salt is poured on him. And right up to the moment when you find yourself dissolving into foam you can still believe you are doing fine.”

Alternately, it is the lack of craft, gel, and purpose that sometimes makes me screech at Facebook updates.  The spontaneous brain vomit behind such social media often forces me to smear my fingertips, sludge-like, across the monitor.  When I read an update from a high school “friend,” and it reports “Cute puppy!” above the photo of a dog that apparently strikes this “friend” as–what is it again?–cute, I am annoyed.  Similarly, I have to rub my temples slowly when I read a post consisting of the words “Pull! Hit!” and wonder how this revelation of a nebulous personal past time is supposed to provide readers with a whit of satisfaction.

So there are writers who work and rework their words before releasing them to an audience, and there are writers who spew thoughtlessly, slime-ing their readers with a thick green coating of verbiage, and although I prefer writing that exhibits restraint and discipline,

currently, I find that I want to write about a topic that has me so keyed up my opening line on the subject reads, “ARghaghadlfkafdaglkhaghghghghghghgdsklfdsjlkfjdfsdlkjdsaaaaaagggghhhh.”

I know you’re thinking that I lifted that line from Portnoy’s Complaint, but you’re wrong.  Quite proudly, I tell you that I just composed it, right now, all on my own–with no deliberation, forethought, or care.  In fact, any time I try to start typing anything on this topic, my fingers naturally pluck out yet another bit of jarring scream-babble that reads, “BWAHAHAHAHAHAHwoeriweoizzzcxlkcvjlkjaharrraghahghghghghgh.”

My lack of control on this subject has been convincing me I’m not ready to take it on.  Because my emotions run high on this topic, and I am tacking towards it from coordinates of judgement and condemnation (and, thus, unfairness), I’ve been telling myself to give it time, to let my thoughts gel, to let my emotions settle–until I can beach myself on a more objective island from which to consider my subject.

On the other hand, writing from a place of high emotion could be cathartic and exactly what I need to do to release some of my pique and get rational again.

Hence, I’m balancing on a fence called Hmmmmm.

What is this topic that has me fluffed with umbrage?

Turkish men.

Even after much revision of BWAHAHAHAHAHAHwoeriweoizzzcxlkcvjlkjaharrraghahghghghghgh, the only polished opening sentence I’m able to come up with is this:

I am so fucking over Turkish men.”

That opener indicates I’m in complete control and ready to turn out some fine thinking, right?

Hmmmmmm.  Or maybe I need another couple of days.

Or years.

Maybe a decade or two.

What do you think, Readers?  If that opening sentence gives you an indication of my level of control on this subject, am I ready to write?  Or do I need to go up to the pharmacy first and have the nice man behind the counter give me some mood-numbing pills?

And, hey, wait:  if the man behind the counter at the pharmacy is nice, and he helps me feel better, doesn’t that undermine my thesis that Turkish men are crazy making?

Climbing back up onto my Hmmmmm fence now.


Comments

Huff — 22 Comments

  1. I’m thinking (dangerous process that can be) that if you are THAT worked up over THAT topic, then perhaps the best thing for you to do is to let ‘er rip! It appears that what you really need is a super big cathartic post and I’m quite sure you’d still manage to bring it all together in a way that is informative, interesting, innovative even if it does contain a goodly number of much needed expletive-deleteds, which we all know you wouldn’t bother to delete then, would you?
    So go ahead and clear your air and entertain the troops.

  2. Let loose and rant m’dear. I love a good rant, and I’m sure yours would be sublime.

    If it helps, I know a Turkish woman who thinks Turkish men are total asshats. Of course she lives here and is the vice-president of a company, but still….

    You are not alone.

  3. Yes, you may feel that you are not ready to write, but we are definitely ready to read. Go for it with all you’ve got. You will feel so much better after getting it off your chest (so to speak!).

  4. i generally agree on the preference for finely crafted words but no and again an unpolished and cathartic dump of slimy verbiage can at times be quite the entertaining read. it can also make the reader feel a bit lighter, not unlike after a cathartic dump of the intestinal variety. and since turds can’t be polished i say, “go for it!”

  5. Jocelyn, we all know what you’re capable of when it comes to well-planned, finely-edited writing, There is no possibility that your reputation will suffer permanent damage should you just let loose with an undisciplined rant, which I (and I’m clearly not alone) would love to read.
    Have I told you what your posts and French TV advertising have in common? Perhaps I have. If not, just ask.

    • Deborah: Is it that French TV advertising and I both make no sense? That’s my guess.

      Okay, I’m going to try to write some sentences about Turkish men, and I’m going to try damn fricking hard not to swear in every single sentence. That’s kind of my problem this week: I can’t seem to stop swearing in regards to this topic, and I tend to prefer sparing curses used for effect rather than as the meat of the post.

  6. I would love to read it, too, although I foresee a rise in my blood pressure when I do. (Not from your writing, but from the subject.) The writing will be cathartic, certainly, and perhaps if you let the piece sit on your hard drive for a day or two you will be able to come back to it and add some cool and reasoned conclusion.

    Or not. Whatever. Just do it.

  7. Keep mulling this one over, sweetie. And stay the F*CK off of F*C****K because I tell you, that’s the devil’s territory, where good writers go to be sucked into a wasteland and die. You’re too good to go there.

  8. “until I can beach myself on a more objective island from which to consider my subject.”

    Hahaha! Perhaps a visit to the pharmacist is a good idea before you begin that one.

    RE Facebook. I haven’t quite figured it out yet. People write fragments and I don’t understand what they mean, yet 45 people check it as “Like” and make comments like “so cool” or “love it.” Of course I have been known to see a comment I’ve made only to notice missing words or a misspelling. Maybe that’s when I’ve been drinking.

  9. I’m partly curious and partly I think I already geddit. I once dated a turk. It was…odd.

    As for facebook, I’m usually more annoyed by the people who seem to think that “…” is a status update. Or the ones who declare in capital letters that today is a HORRIBLE day, and then when someone asks them what’s wrong, their response is “I don’t want to talk about it.” I used to think that those people were just a cartoon-joke, but nope. I’ve noticed several in my friends-list. I’m thinking my friends-list is going to need some tidying up…

  10. just came back to tell you i lft an award for you and byron each at my place. not because i want to pressure you into participating in a meme, feel free to ignore that, but because i wanted more people to be able to come read about your adventures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>