Bogus Lies (and) Ordinary Greatness
I started, what I call, articlulate writing years and years ago. Some of it was free associate writing, automatic writing, or what ever you chose to call it. It was, and still is, a fun outlet for me. Some of it, no one has ever read before. A lot of it .... maybe nobody should...
Sunday, January 29, 2012
From the archives... "Article Worth Framing"
#written over 30 years ago - dredged up from the pits#
A R T I C L E W O R T H F R A M I N G
Typing my life away. Words appearing on paper, with nothing to say. But today is different. No, my typing has not quickened its pace, I have not taken typing lessons. Typing is just as tedious as ever. No, I have not sat down with something special to say ahead of time. This article will probably drift by word by word just like all the rest in a sea of paragraphs, being fed from a babbling stream of consciousness. Yes, this writer has his "Gone Fishing" sign up.
So what, you ask, is different about today's article? Today I face the typewriter alone. I have, for the first time, not written any of this down ahead of time in longhand. The thoughts flow directly from my head to the printed paper, with no middle pad involved. No change, no chance to update, cross out, add, or disintegrate. Leave the editing to the editor.
Darn, I'm not done yet. I don't want to let this paper sit in the typewriter too long. I don't want the editor to think the paper was yellow before I started. A true vintage work of art.
I have always believed in honesty, and anyone who says they believe differently is a liar. I have always told my readers how it is. If I'm having trouble writing a particular piece I come right out and admit it. If I doze off every now and then when writing I tell of the experiences of my dreams upon awakening. I try to get as close to my readers as possible. I have a theory that the majority of my readers are between the ages of 20 and 30, female, and beautiful. Now you can understand why I want to get as close to them as possible.
But of course this only applies to my articulate writing, when I know that the reader knows that she is reading me, and not just something about one of my characters that I made up, as in a novel. When writing a story about other people and places I really don't care how close and personal I bring my readers in to their particular lives. When I want to bring my readers close to my characters I just use a frame. By using unsung characters as a way to tell and develop a story about other characters whom the readers never come in direct contact with is my ploy to keep the readers far away from the story. After all, my characters have their own personal lives, and letting you into their minds might hurt their feelings. Me, I don't mind you coming into my mind. Don't worry-- there is plenty of room to wander about. But I think of my characters as people in their own right, and I wouldn't feel right about letting you trample around in the mind of someone else. My mind doesn't mind trampling, but I cannot speak for others. It's good to have my mind occasionally filled with something, even if it is unceremoniously trampling and generally mucking about of others, for it cuts down on the echoes and reverberations of thoughts past.
Most of the time my writing is intellectual and emotional, so it is not hurt by distance. My stories can be told just as well from the overhearing of another's conversation as from the contorted drivel from one of my main characters' brain. Creating distance in stories also can create new characters. The people you eavesdrop on become a secondary part of the story. These people must somehow be related to the story they are revealing.
Yes, creating a distance between the reader and the story can be useful in works of fiction. First of all, it doesn't embarrass the characters by letting a total stranger see something that they do not wish to show to just anyone. It resolves the writer from the sin of letting another beings brain be trampled on. It keeps with the intellectual aura of my usual writing. I don't like my stories exaggerated and overblown like the common "fish story." There is an art to creating new, unimportant characters and confusing the readers. I have often noticed that the more confused the reader is, the better he likes the story. Also the use of more characters makes the story longer just by having to take the space to explain their presence, and remember – writers get paid by the word count. So the more words I can force on to the paper … the greater the masterpiece.
He stumbled into the bar, rejected again. It was tough to be an unsold writer in New York City with revenues as well as patience dwindling. Five rejections in as many weeks! Maybe he was forcing out the novels a bit too fast…
He needed a drink…
Tom Collins. Didn't his brother used to be a wide receiver for the Browns? He dug the folded money from his wallet. The money he was counting on lasting until he started selling was running low. And not yet even one sale. He placed his head in his hands, trying to clear his head. He couldn't, wouldn't! go back home without a sale. As tears welled up in his eyes and trickled down through his fingers, his ears popped, and as they did the mull of mixed conversation dropped to a level of inaudibility and from the table behind him he could just make out what the participants of an interesting conversation were saying. He listened in a half dreaming state …
"…broke into the New York Times with a bang." a man's voice was saying. "He comes from Ohio. Already he's got a huge following, and to think that just weeks ago he was an unknown!"
I think he's gorgeous," came the lovely voice from a girl over twenty, but certainly not more than thirty.
"Certainly the new sensation. By his third article he had made the front page!"
"Truly words of wisdom. This one is something special…"
"Where has he been hiding all his life?"
"They say he's only in his teens. I think he's so gorgeous!"
"Surely words so wise could not possibly come from one so young. Where does he get his vast knowledge and experiences?"
"Truly a gift from above…"
"Yet, his words are so deep…"
"Deep, reaching the bottom of my heart... "
"Bringing his soul along with every word…"
"Did you read his latest masterpiece in today's paper?"
"First thing I do every morning!"
"Wouldn't miss it."
"Well, actually no. I save it for the night. When I can read him all alone in bed at night, sharing our inner feelings. Every time I read him I feel so close to him, like he's right there with me… He's so gorgeous!"
"Well, then let me tell you what he wrote today…"
"No! I told you! I save him for the night! I don't wanna hear…"
"That's not all you save for the night, Sally."
"Actually I get more of a thrill from reading the dictionary than I would if I was with you…"
"But Bob, I thought that you said that you and Sally, last weekend… "
"Shut up, Phil!"
"All a writer has to do to get a woman is to say he's a writer. It's an aphrodisiac." smiled Saul Bellow as he passed by their table on his way out, catching part of the conversation.
"He typed his article today directly from his head, he didn't write it first out in longhand like he usually does."
"I told you," Sally was growing furious, "I don't want to have my night spoiled. So shut up!"
"Hey, I wonder if the editor had to read yellow paper…?"
"Hey, I have the article right here…"
"In your pocket?"
"Yes, I cut everyone out and carry it around with me for a week and then I have them framed. They hang nicely over the fireplace. I'm running out of room to hang them, though. I think I might have to buy a bigger house."
"Come on. Come on! Read that article out loud. I haven't memorized the third paragraph yet!"
"Ahem… Typing my life away." Bill read in his best voice, standing and waving his arms about, "Words appearing on paper, with nothing to say. But today is different… No, my typing has not quickened its pace, I have not taken typing lessons. Typing is…”
"I can not hear you! I can not hear you… I can not hear you… I can not he… " Her voice fades away as she leaves the bar.
As the dramatic reading of the article continues people gather around the table. Most of them are very good-looking girls… Those who haven't already, are busy memorizing every word coming from Bill's mouth. Soon the whole bar, as most of them already had the article submitted to memory, joined in with Bill and recited the article, and it sounded no less than a choir of angels, a symphony of words.
For one moment in one bar in New York City people forget everything and simply listened. All forgot their private worries and for one brief moment all was right with the world. Peace and harmony were plentiful and men were brothers as they finally found a commonality that could unite the world and solve all differences. One light that could shin for everyone for the common good and benefit of all mankind and lead us all to enlightenment.
The tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy on the young writer’s face, for young Isaac Asimov now knew that there was hope for him, and that soon he too, would find his place in the writing world, and maybe also write a thing or two.
P.S. Don't feel too sorry for poor Isaac,
I feel that after his 200th book he is gaining
some confidence and will soon grow up to be
a better than average writer.