So, there I was SOCM0B — which for those of you who haven’t become acquainted with the “Things I learn from My Patients” time waster and who are too lazy to follow the first link (for the love of heaven, if you prize your time do not follow the second) means “Standing on the corner, minding my own business” which usually happens before “Some Bad dude” or “that evil guy” or perhaps “that bitch” came up and inflicted near-fatal trauma on the person being SOCMOB.
(And btw, the gentleman of the medical persuasion who travels the internets under the name Vindaloo Diesel was the one who introduced me to that site now… 10? years gone. Which is why at one point I was SOCMOB when two bad dudes showed up in my head, which is how I wrote A Few Good Men.)
Anyway, you probably think that at this point I would have learned not to SOCMOB. I mean, we’re filling the truck tomorrow to drive down in part one of the great move. (Then coming back to prepare for part 2.) And I should have.
But there I was all innocent and SOCMOBish intending to put a guest post here for tomorrow, when an utter and complete bitch came up the internet and got all under my nose, forcing me to write this post.
Okay, so, she didn’t directly address me. But her post addressed me, you and the whole damned world. It was a ridiculous putting-down, discouraging, blighting post, of the sort that needs to be rammed back down the throat of the bitches doing that shit. Because you know what they are? They are crabs, trying to pull you down into the miserable crab bucket in which they live. They’re self-enslaved thralls who do not deserve to address free writers. And they are despicable, and evil and — above all — ridiculous. They only have the power you give them, and I ain’t giving bitch-chick ANY.
She can f*ck right off and take other academic assholes with her. (With an apology to assholes, which have a useful function, for comparing them to these sterile, uncreative and ridiculous human beings.)
So, first of all an observation: This chick’s name is sort of like the girl named Grace who trips over her own feet, or the unending succession of Linda or Bonita named girls who could break mirrors by looking in them.
She’s not Sunny. She’s a Friday faced fustian-headed academician who has traded in whatever creativity she ever had in return for filling her head with other people’s bad ideas. Perhaps she should take the advice from the hippie musical Hair and let the sun shine in. Of course, it would require her to extract her head from her fourth point of contact.
Now, to answer her questions:
1- Why do you want to write this? What is your motivation?
Well, mostly, the same the motivation usually is: to get the d*mn thing out of my mind, before it starts seriously interfering with my ability to lead a functional life, because ever since I was six or so, the characters show up, and the stories follow, and then …. well. And then I have to write them down. And they’re never happy unless they’re read either. So I have to make them interesting for other people.
So, my motivation for writing this is that I was SOCMOB when some bad dude, or perhaps that bitch or that annoying alien showed up and said “write my story.”
But let me ask you, Professor Sourly, what’s your motivation for writing this little screed?
2- What is your personal, emotional, psychological, ethical investment in writing it?
Uh? Come again? You’re staticking. My main investment in it is to tell the story. If I also get paid for it, it’s a bonus, because man, woman or small furry animalia do not live by air and bullshit alone. I mean, sure, professors of a leftist stripe might, but some of us work for a living.
So, personal: I’m a writer. Writers write. Emotional: Well, I get pretty emotional when telling a story. Also, I’m emotionally interested in looking after my family. Psychological: It’s like this. I had this story in my head, you see. And it would have to come out. Ethical: no ethics are harmed in the telling of my stories. I don’t write things that scan as evil to me. That is in general my stories discourage the taking of people’s things and hurting people. Or, in other words, I’m anti-communist. But I don’t preach in my books. I just write the story. It’s just that it’s pretty hard to keep your core convictions from the page. Which you’d know Rainy, if you had any, instead of the semi-digested crap you allowed your head to be filled with.
3. Can someone else tell this story better? Is it someone else’s story to tell?
Hey, Blustery, are you okay? Are the neckbolts too tight? Lost a screw somewhere?
What in actual hell are you talking about?
There are tons of people who could tell the story better, sure. But most of them are dead, and the ones who are alive would probably find it very odd if I buttonholed them in the middle of the street and said “Hey, I have this idea and you have to write it out.”
It’s a good way to get knifed. Or worse.
So, what precisely is wrong with your head? Do you think there’s a way to make the “best person” write it? Or perhaps — since all of you Marxist idiots believe in a theory of finite supply and scarcity — do you think ideas are limited, and that once something is written someone else can’t write it? That if, say, I write the story of a magical heist, Jim Butcher will have to never write it?
At this point I have to ask — Stormy — do you EVER read? I mean for fun? And are you aware that ideas aren’t copyrightable? Only the execution is.
As for its being someone else’s story to tell? That happens, sometimes. Sometimes a story lands in my head that for whatever reason isn’t mine to tell. I don’t have the specialized knowledge. I lack the emotional experience. I simply don’t have the time to do the research.
And yet, a certain number of them won’t go away, and I’m then forced to do the work. Which is why I’m now writing a novel that first came to me when I was fourteen. In another country. In a different language. So?
Again, unless you wish me to run around forcing people to write ideas I have, I don’t see what your point is. Other than that storm cone over your head.
4- What does YOUR telling of the story do? Does it replicate prior violence, oppression/injustice? Does it provide new understanding or insight?
Okay. It’s late, and I’ve spent the last few days packing. But I’m looking at the screen and blinking at this nonsense.
Look, was Gale here wrapped in cotton on the day of her birth, so she could never come in contact with the real reality? Is her head so full of bullshit that she can’t tell words from actions, reality from the crap in her mind?
Listen, Hail-Driven-Mary, my telling the story tells the story. It’s amazing you know, but humans have been telling stories since the world has been a world, and until literature professors started interfering with both the stories and the humans, it never occurred to a single person that telling the story did anything but tell the story.
For one, because most of the time the story is just a way to spend some time. And then it’s gone. If it’s exceptionally good, it gives people something to dream on. But it doesn’t change the world, for all that you might think it does. It’s just a fricking story. Oh, and the curtains are blue, sister.
And while we’re at it, how would a story REPLICATE violence or oppression? If I knife you in a story — you’ll know, because your name will be Cyclone — you will be somewhat angry. If I knife you in real life you’ll bleed.
A story cannot perpetrate violence. A story cannot oppress you. A story can only, AT MOST offend you. And sister: if you think that you have some way of preventing people from writing stories that offend you, or that your lilac perfumed feelings are so precious that we shouldn’t ever, then you need to be offended. Offended, shaken, and pushed out of your little cocoon, until you at least have some idea in which direction reality might lie.
5- What is your power balance/imbalance as a writer to the subject matter?
Dear Hurricane, you have rocks in your head. (With apologies to rocks.)
I’m not Clinton, and my subject matter isn’t an intern on her knees under my desk.
What the hell are you actually, for reals talking about. I understand imbalance of power. It’s a bad idea for the boss to sleep with the maid, because he could ruin her. It’s a bad idea for the president to schtup the internet. It’s disgusting for the mass-murdering democrat mayor to hit on his subordinates. And editors shouldn’t fuck writers. Oh, and you should probably keep your hands off your students.
But a WRITER and the writer’s SUBJECT?
Even if you’re talking about non-fiction, (let alone fiction) what the hell is the power imbalance with the subject? Power imbalance or balance applies between individuals, not between people and things. A subject is a thing.
Oh, but if you misreport something, like say claiming that there’s some “gate” with a republican president, when you know it’s not true, the entire leftist media will pile on and then….
Yeah, but that’s called lying and cheating, cupcake. Not power imbalance. Lying and cheating are ugly and sins. They are not some kind of mythical ethical quandary.
Say, for instance, that you wrote this to prevent anyone more talented than you from writing and thereby shining you down. That would be an ugly, evil thing you did. It’s called pride and bearing false witness.
You don’t need to invent new sins Blustery. The old ones will do. You’re not original enough for anything like making up new ones. You’re merely being incoherent.
6. Finally should you write/publish this at all? As with most ethical questions, the key is not can one, but should one?
No, seriously. Or?
If I publish it and you think I shouldn’t…. what’s the ethical quandry?
If I should write something utterly evil, say claiming that we should take things from the rich and eat them too, what do you think that would do? Oh, never mind Frosty. You think it would bring about paradise, don’t you. Because you have faecaliths between your ears.
But as much as I say Marx should have been strangled with his swaddling clothes, I’m not stupid enough to think the fault is all his. Sure, what he wrote was pure, stained scarlet evil, but you know what? If it hadn’t fallen on receptive ears, it would never have caused any harm.
And frankly, as neurotically incoherent as he was, the same evildoers who seized on him might have seized on anyone at all. And filled millions of graves.
So what is the ethical question in publishing or not publishing? Precisely?
If it’s non fiction, tell the truth and shame the devil. If it’s fiction, I aim to entertain.
So I will publish. And you can be damned.
But on your last paragraph….. See here, Thundery, you should have applied that question to this piece of bizarre incoherence.
Just because you can write it, should you?
Or to quote my grandmother: seems to me that you’ve wasted an excellent opportunity to keep your lip zipped.
Because your bizarre post seems to be riding in all directions convinced of things such as that words are violence or can perpetrate violence. Or perhaps that words can oppress people. Or that we must balance the power between humans and things. (Words, events, stories are things, not animated.)
Oh, I know what you’re trending to. ABD in languages and literature, you know? I’ve come across your ilk before.
I think when you were two years old — Snowy — someone gave you a book where the writer used your name in telling the story, and you were bowled over by it, and excited that you had all these adventures (I assume you were as soft-headed at two as you are now) and from then on became convinced people can only write about people precisely like them: or in other words, themselves. And can only be interested in reading about people exactly like them. And–
I don’t know, sister. Perhaps you’re mentally deficient in some way and have a total lack of imagination. Not my problem, and I’d even feel sorry for you, except….
Except you took advantage of your position, as a professor of writing, which the young and stupid — the conditions often run together — might think means you actually know something about writing, to undermine confidence and break young ones and convince them they shouldn’t write.
And that’s evil, speaking of ethics. That’s raw, unadulterated evil.
The writing life often resembles nothing so much as a series of kicks to the teeth. But let them be administered when unavoidable, not because you’re a sadist who loves hurting creatives.
In other words: no sale. You’re not the boss of me, and your appeal to ethics reveals only that you have no idea what “ethics” means.
I and mine will write whatever we want. And you can writhe in discomfort and hatred. Come on, it’s not like you can convince me that you had anything else penciled in for the next sixty years. If you’re truthful with yourself, it’s all you know how to do, and the only thing you’re good at.
The truth is, we won’t even notice. We’ll be having too much fun, and being too successful creating stories.
So, dear readers: Write, Publish. Repeat.
And hold up a middle finger to Sunny-dearest. Maybe if she hurts enough it will cure her of her sour puss delusion that she knows who should write what. Maybe it will even set her free to read and write for fun. And that would indeed be a ray of sunshine.