Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What November 8th and 9th Mean To Me: For the sake of my writing career, I think I need a kid

As someone who loves the process of writing, even writing texts and emails, I'm always concerned with the health of my craft, and am obviously attempting to grow as a writer beyond cheap one-liners and shallow observations.  Of course, there is value in such things, but it's just not the kind of writer I see myself as. Which leads me to the following note I just received from an editor of a blog:

The tone of your piece is fine.  We are just going to change the word porn to x-rated movies.

In context, it makes perfect sense and, for the record, I agree with the decision.  But just seeing that one line caused me to ponder both my subject matter and how I go about handling it.  After all, the line in question was not used in an expose about porn addiction on the Internet, it's for an article about visiting Pisa.

Finding inspiration for stories does not come easy for me, at all.  I envy friends who are writing ten screenplays at once, featuring ten ideas that are all better than anything I can come up with.  Even if they never finish one of them, I still admire the way they can conjure up storylines as simply as they could a sneeze in a dusty room.  I don't think I'm a bad writer, or even a lazy one that refuses to brainstorm, I just feel certain people are better at certain aspects, and actual story creation isn't something that comes easily to me.  Generally it takes a life altering moment to inspire a story idea, and even then I have to count on the muses to see me through.  This is probably why I would force my theoretical wife to name our first born Calliope...perhaps I'm selfish in more ways than I can count.  That said, any writer will tell you that great stories come from trying life experiences, and though I've had some quirky experiences lately that could lead to interesting material, I do feel rather boring and unchallenged.  I'm always searching for something a little dangerous or out of the ordinary that would inspire some good writing.  Now, I could partake in drug trading or espionage, but this is not the world for a 32 year old Jew with a fairly normal upbringing so...


Those who know me best also know I'm overly nostalgic.  I compartmentalize my past, polish it up, and conjure memories as if they were actually meaningful.  For those who have read my book, I'm stating the obvious, as it's littered with shiny memories of moments that were considered dull as they were happening.  And recently I've been reading a lot of stories about sports and children (the Penn State scandal aside), but more specifically about fathers taking their children to sporting events, and witnessing the seemingly mundane with new color through their children's eyes.  Whether they know it or not, they are living vicariously through their children, trying to capture moments of innocence that have long past them.  I'm always affected by the pieces, even if they are a little melodramatic, because of their honesty and love.

And that sounds good to me!

Brett, you fool

My perception of children has changed much over the years.  In my early 20's, the thought of having one was tantamount to a prison sentence.  I think I referred to fetuses as parasites (OK, maybe I still do), and I was simply terrified that a child would enter my life and affect career goals or whatever.  I'd have sex and then be scared over the course of the next month of the surely impending phone call informing me I was going to be a father, despite the fact that I was extra careful in the act.  But over time, I've noticed that my fears have changed.  As I've grown and matured (don't laugh, assholes), I became less afraid of the child, as I think I have the emotional and mental wherewithal to actually keep one alive, and more afraid of who I'd have the child with.  So, after the aforementioned relations, I, of course, feared the phone call...but not because I'd possibly have to care for a child, I just didn't want some person I didn't feel incredibly strongly about in my life forever.  It is weird how that works, there is no real practical use for children, we seem to have them to solely fix an emotional need.  I don't know that I'm there yet, but at least I understand it now.

But, importantly, back to my writing :).  I personally think my writing is best when it dances on the border of humor and melodrama, and I do truly think that writing pieces about my life view through a child would produce some great observations, and more importantly, plenty of them. I've always worn my emotions on my sleeve, and I feel like I'm pretty good at expressing them in written word, I just have a feeling a story about the birth of my child could be compelling, and of course, easily relatable.  Or the time I take said child to Disneyland for the first time.  Or his or her first football game. Or first day of school.

Yes, I might become one of those assholes who talks about their kids too much but, knowing me, it would probably seem half nostalgic and half humorous (like Louis CK!).  I have no issue making fun of children because of their naivete and innocence, and I have enough trouble with my own problems, so I sincerely doubt I'd think my child was anything extraordinary, which is fine, most people aren't and that doesn't make them meaningless. 

So, for the sake of my writing career, I probably have to trick some poor woman into 1) having sex with me 2) falling in love with me and 3) producing offspring. 

But isn't it worth it for one or two interesting stories? 

You will rue the day!
Hmmm...maybe I should just stick to stories about love in foreign countries.  Anyone want to pay me to travel and write?? :D

1 comment:

  1. still completely averse to children. i think i feel more CAPABLE of not killing a kid accidentally but not remotely interested.