Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Professor Plots Against Me

The Professor is tired of hearing me say that I feel vaguely unfulfilled. And she's demanding I do something about it, sit down and really figure out what I want from my life and go ahead and do it. This is a plan, of course, but I'm a giant chicken-shit. In high school I took a sociology class with the guy in charge of Athletics. I spent most of the class watching the back of the quarterback of our football team. In fact, I only remember two things from that class. One is when the teacher asked said quarterback and the rest of the football team how many of them wiped their bodies with their towels first and then their faces. They all did. He thought that was hilarious, that they would put something that had been on their butts on their faces. The other thing he'd talk about all the time is how none of us could really ever plan on succeeding at what we loved--that if we wanted to be a baseball player, we ought to satisfy ourselves with writing about baseball for the local paper or if we wanted to be movie stars, we should just satisfy ourselves with going to the movies. I thought that was kind of bullshit. I mean, sure, not everyone can pitch for the Cubs... well, okay... not the last few years anyway. Some years, sure. But back to my point, someone's got to do it. Right? I mean, someone's got to be the one person who overcomes the odds. I'm going to be honest with you. I thought he was wrong, but I think that's what I'm doing. I think I stick my knife in boxes full of books and then my nose in the pages of those freshly printed books and I tell myself this is exactly the job that would make me happiest because I don't have the balls to actually try to do what would make me happiest. Those boxes should be full of books full of pages full of inky shapes of my words. I know that. The Professor knows that. Fuck, even the Professor's brother knows that and he barely knows me. And yet, I read back over this post and I have to say that I barely have the balls to hit publish. I can barely admit this to myself. I don't know why the hell I'm telling you. I could try. I've got the perfect job for it, one that rewards artsy-fartsy yakkity-smakkity-ness and, without a car or kids, I have a lot of time in the evenings. It's not like I've never written anything before and if TCP has taught me anything it's the joy of having a routine of writing. But even writing it here, where I can stumble back across it in the future and hold myself accountable to it, to see if I actually did anything about it, is pretty terrifying. I don't know what will come of it--the admission, not the realization, or maybe the admission and the realization. But fuck me, if you don't come to Tiny Cat Pants to see what scares the shit out of me, I don't know why you come.


Blogger Kat Coble said...

I personally come to see how many times one can use a four letter word in a creative new context.

I am often suprised.

Publishing is easy. Writing is hard.

When you get back, you should come to Writer's Group with me. It's fun.

9/15/2005 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Peggasus said...

I've warned you before and I'll do it again, Missy Aunt B, about bandying that artsy-farsty label around. Years and years from now, when you've got as many (mostly unfinished) crafts and hobbies as I do, then, and only then, can you even think about employing that term.

On the other hand, you've totally got that yakkity-smakkity thing covered.

Go for it.

9/15/2005 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger HUCK said...

I would give everything in my universe, except for my family, to be a writer. My love for it is second only to them.

I often wonder where I would be now if my father hadn't talked me into changing my English major into Biology, which eventually changed to Anthropology anyway.

That was our "compromise" - Anthropology. Oh yeah, that's sure been one helluva boon to my career. Thanks for the parental wisdom there Daddy'O.

Whoa! What pit did I just fall into, there?

You have to do it. You have to write.

You have to. You have to. You have to.

...And don't ever stop.

9/15/2005 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

A writer is something you become or do.

It's something you ARE.

Once you accept that, it's just plain easier to get to the mechanics of writing.

9/16/2005 12:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having lurked for awhile, I felt strongly enough about this one to post (although I, too, feel terror at the prospect of hitting "publish"), so here goes:

My dear Aunt B, whether you like it or not, you're already a writer. You find a lot of ways to convince yourself that you are not actually writing, like confining your stories to emails or blogs and saying they don't count because they're not published. That's fine, but it is also, as you say, "chicken-shit." It's your little way of doing what you love without having to admit you're a writer.
It may be scary to admit, because then you have to do something about it, but all you're doing by not admitting it is cheating yourself and the rest of us.
Honestly, B, think of some of the little non-events you've made interesting for your readers. I recently emailed someone the link to a story about you waking your brother up in the morning, for crying out loud. Imagine what you could do if you gave yourself some more room to work with.
FYI--I'm writing this as a friend and, more selfishly, as a reader.
So write already!
--The Former Intern

9/16/2005 01:28:00 AM  
Blogger bridgett said...

I have exactly the same story arc -- I tried to be something else (editor) taking the parent-approved, class-appropriate safe route before taking the parent-puzzling (class-unheard of) audacious crazy leap I'm engaged in now. The odds have been long, but it's working out. Along the way, I've had a lot of nights where I wonder what the hell I'm doing. But what else was there to be done?

Life is short and your readers await. Get a move on.

9/16/2005 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger TVonthefritz said...

That's what my therapist told me. She said, "that I'm already a writer." And then I shot her a look of "what kind of crack cocaine are you smoking?" But crack cocaine or not, it's true.

9/16/2005 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

The biggest problem that faces most writers is they believe legitimacy only comes from being published.

I've had two books published. They were both little crap things for Wal-Mart (one was about poker the other about Bunko).

Of all the stuff I've written in my life, those are the ones of which I'm LEAST proud. They're the whore-jobs...the ones I did for cash. I've written much better stuff--more interesting, more fun. Never been published, never even pursued being published for that stuff. I wrote it for ME, to hone my chops, to practice.

The best thing any writer-person can do is go to a workshop. You're surrounded by the breed, you talk books, you talk writing.

Writers just ARE.

Except for when they leave the "not" out of their earlier comment. It should have read "Being a writer is NOT something you become or do..."

9/16/2005 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger imfunnytoo said...

Or, someone affirms what they already knew...that they are a's the getting *paid* for it that's the tricky part.

I write.

Even if it sucks

I write every day.

So, is a writer who doesn't get $$ a writer or not?


9/16/2005 03:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is 'never try'.

Homer Simpson

9/17/2005 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Pick said...

I, for one, believe the more words we get from Aunt B, the better the world will be.

Write a book, dammit.

9/18/2005 08:45:00 AM  

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