Thursday, August 14, 2003
And Now, a Little Something I Like to Call "Sweet Gentle Jesus, Why the Fuck am I so Uninspired?!!"
In addition to my own self-flagellation about my inability to write anything creatively, I’ve recently read other fellow bloggers decrying their lack of literary output. Like me, Whitey longs for the days of yore, when writing seemed so much easier to do. The ‘Poo is having her will to write beaten out of her by her thankless job. And CW . . . well, he just wants to write so he can be famous, but he still needs that extra motivation.
So, it is with this in mind that I look back on my own writing “career.”
Things started promisingly early in elementary school. I wrote a story for Halloween in which me and a few of my little friends were beheaded and/or hung. (Yes . . . I did.) Later, around fourth or fifth grade, I wrote a play; I can’t remember the plot, really, but there was a climactic food-fight scene that included one student attacking another with the flagpole that sat on the stage in the cafeteria. (The teachers were initially excited about putting on the play . . . until they read it.)
The years from sixth through ninth grades are my “dark years,” where I either can’t remember writing anything of note, or I was too swept up in learning new words like “boner” and “orgasm.” (For those of you who follow the theory of Historicism, my middle-school years started fashion-less but ended knee-deep in “hip.” I went from wearing a t-shirt that read “E.T. loves you” to wearing checkered Vans, parachute pants, Members Only jackets, and brightly colored Polo shirts with camouflage pants.)
My “career” picked up in tenth grade when creative writing was part of the English curriculum. That’s when I started writing poetry. I also started writing a series of stories about a troubled boy who periodically went on killing sprees.
During my senior year, I had British lit with Mrs. Bell, who changed my life. She’d read some stuff I submitted for a writing competition (no, I didn’t place . . . thanks for asking). She had me read “Porphyria’s Lover” by Robert Browning; in the poem, the narrator strangles his lover with her own hair. It’s a really beautiful poem. I started actually reading and enjoying poetry which, in turn, improved my own poetry. (Looking back, the change is very relative . . . my poetry went from doggerel to just plain bad. I collaborated on a vicious S&M poem with a couple friends around this time; it was called "Moral Hate/Love," and it divided the after-school writing club . . . yeah, big controversy.)
The college years were even more fruitful. I discovered more poets to admire, including the two most influential writers on the young 19-year-old Scott: Sylvia Plath and my friend Joe. Joe sang for our band at the time (drowning in violets . . . thanks for asking). His lyrics were inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez novels, and they were brilliant. Around that same time, I was taking writing-related courses at community college. I was churning out poetry . . . 10 or 12 poems a month. I was out of control.
When I got into FSU, I had transferred as a junior non-major. I was trying to get into the media production program. And then I settled for general communications. And then I realized I’d have to actually talk to people I didn’t know, so I declared myself a creative writing major.
The creative output continued to grow, and the quality got better. During my first summer with no classes (not no class, ass), I was going to write a screenplay . . . I still have the basic plot structure in my head.
By the time I graduated from college, I was a half-decent writer . . . in poetry anyway. In the next couple years, I kept writing fiercely, but things started to taper off after that. In 1995, I started a novel that sat around for until about 23 months ago. (The fact that it opened with a plane crashing into an office building has permanently shelved that incarnation.)
Michelle and I got engaged and moved to Upstate New York. Even though I had much more time (and less friends), I was making even less time for writing. And then I wasn’t writing much at all.
We started a literary journal to get things going again. That helped, for a short time. But eventually, the journal faded along with the writing.
So here we are. I haven’t written more than a poem or two in the past year. There have been fragments and good lines and stanzas, but nothing complete. I’ve thrown down some of these pieces in the form of song lyrics, but I need more than that.
Maybe we need a blogger-based writing support group. Or some sort of creative exchange. Whaddya say? Anyone have any ideas?