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11:57 am - Mon 12/08/03
Writing about Writing

Writing about Writing
Mon 12/08/03 (11:30 a.m.)

I think the thing I need to re-learn is how to struggle.

I'm thinking specifically about writing–Writing in here, or writing in general (If I do, in fact, ever manage to sit down again and write outside of Diaryland). I'm starting to be upset, almost to the point of alarm, over how I'll wait until a strong feeling goes away, before I'll set down to write in here. Then I'm disappointed and depressed over hearing myself go round and round saying the same old shit.

And why do I do this?

I'm sure part of it is the resistance I have to really revealing myself. I'm afraid if you ever got to know the real "me"–whoever "you" are–you would reject me.

After all, you have before.

But today, I'm thinking that's not really the main reason. After all, whenver I set down to think about the handful of people's opinion that really matters to me, it's a very small list.

I think the bigger issue for me is that I really have a hard time handling the frustration that comes from not being able to say what I want to say, to have all these thoughts and feelings and at least semi-interesting observations that I can't get to come from my head to the page.

But that, I imagine, is what "writing" is. That struggle. To get what's in your head, what's in your heart, to come out on the page and still be somewhere in the neighborhood of what you wanted to communicate.

I really have been feeling very anxious and upset lately. And I'm kind of annoyed about that, because I know it's, at least in part, a response to disappointment over not much coming from the last round of auditions, and from not having any auditions last week (Yesterday I told myself to plan on having that last round of auditions be essentially it for the year. Better that than make myself crazy waiting for something to happen).

But another part of it is this writing thing. I'm frustrated. I'm frustrated that I can't seem to deal with my frustration any better, if that makes sense.

That's one of my very best traps; I get angry because of my anger, depressed because I seem to get depresssed so easily. Blah blah blah and I'm so tired of hearing myself go round like that.

I just want to be doing something that feels worth doing. I want to say something, even if I don't seem to know exactly what that something is.

I chatted with Kevin recently, after having read his play. I asked him how he did what he did–Did he have an idea, then set down at the word processor and put it into words, or did he set down at the word processor and just type till something interesting happened?

In Kevin's case, it's the former. He apparently has so many ideas in his head, they're squirting out his ears.

Lucky him.

That's not the way it seems to be working with me. If I wait to have an idea worth anything, I'll never write a word. So in a way, that conversation with Kevin was a potentially deadly one for me, because it could feed my tendency to say "See? I'm not a writer, cause I don't have a million ideas for stories percolating in my brain".

Maybe I'm not a writer, but I have a feeling now that I'll never really know till I set down and actually try to write. For what it's worth, it's become another thing I have to try to do. I have to know.

As for Diaryland, I was thinking yesterday that I need to write as if other people are not reading along. Not worry what anyone thinks, not worry if people are entertained or not entertained, whether they think I'm a good guy or a jerk or smart or pathetic or whatever. Just say what it is I want to say.

I started a new journal at another site recently. It took me a couple days, but I recently wrote an entry in it, then was nonplussed, when I saw the completed entry, that my name was right there, plain as day. The point was to be anonymous, and to see if that anonymity helped me to express myself better.

But today, I'm thinking it really doesn't matter. Whether I'm writing a journal for public consumption, or whether I want to be the next Mark Twain (Or at least the first Jim Hoffmaster), the main thing I think I need to do is to own what I'm saying, own my own thoughts and feelings.

Now I'm thinking about this entry...this is the closest thing to "uncensored" I've managed in diaryland for quite some time, and I'm sure it's not the best writing I've ever done, but I'm going to hurry up and post it, because I'm actually interested in seeing how it reads (I usually read and re-read what I write as I'm writing it).

 

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