I believe that Stephen King would hate my writing. And he would be right--subjectively and objectively. I hate my own writing, but I like my progress. I'm not sure Stephen King would even like that. Professor King would also criticize that I seem to write with a brown nose-erly bent. But I'm pretty sure even Stephen King writes with some hope that his favorite authors of bygone days would give him a heavenly nudge on the chin.
Anyway, I feel ashamed of myself most of the time. I don't write my own stuff as often or as well as I wish I did. I write at work, and I write this blog, but when it comes to my own professional writing, I'm all out of straws. What gives? I have this thing I love to do that I'm always talking myself out of doing.
Not a great writer, but a wonderful excuse-maker. Please put this on my headstone.
Stephen King said, "Talent can’t help itself; it roars along in fair weather or foul, not sparing the fireworks. It gets emotional. It struts its stuff."
These kinds of eloquent - if a little gushy - statements pour salt into the wounds of my self-awareness. If you're truly good at something shouldn't it just shoot from your fingertips and be inescapable?
People frequently say that you're not a writer unless you're writing all the time; unless you're sleeping, drinking and eating the written word. I would add submitting to this list.
Purists say that writing is the thing, and that being published is just a selfish desire to be popular and validated. I disagree. Those who want to call writing their vocation have no excuse for keeping it hidden. You can't bake all day long, never let anyone have a taste, never open up shop, and then be considered a professional baker. A writer can't sit on their biscuit, think about writing all day, and say, "I'm a professional writer." Or, they can, but in that case, every person who's ever held a pen or pencil, owns a cellphone, or has signed for a UPS package could say they're a writer. And how! Think about how many texts a person sends in a day? You could compile a novel out of that. And with the juicy things people say in texts, it could be more telling of the human experience than anything Cormac McCarthy has ever published:
"Thx, r u coming 2nite?"
"No, I'm going to br8k up w/Dan 2nite",
"He's a #$&@."
(Since I've changed my cellphone number, I get a lot of texts from the friends and family of the previous owner of my number. The content of a lot of these texts could be used in a court of law. I should submit them to John Grisham.)
Anyway, I feel everyday I am standing before this crossroads. One direction that beckons, "Turn this way if you want to suck it up and finally be a real writer" and the other says, "It's OK, stay in Bedford Falls forever, George Bailey."
In closing, a letter:
Dear Stephen King,
Please don't hate my writing, and please don't hate me when I vacation in Bedford Falls too long.
Courtney B. Morrill
Courtney B. Morrill
PS) I admire Stephen King, and everyone should read his articles in The New York Times; writer or not.