Category: On Writing

Entries on the process, craft, or problems of writing or its publication.

The Frozen Sea

“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” ~ Franz Kafka

Too much ink has been spilled on the following topic: why do I write?  Yet having been silent in this space for some time, I find myself asking, why do I not?

Actually, I’ve been writing a great deal, just not here. I have a job that requires me to write at least forty hours a week.  (Should I taxonimize technical documentation as ‘writing?”…Certainly not with a straight face.) While work has knocked some of the intellectual and creative stuffing out of your humble narrator, it’s hardly an excuse to go quiet for months on end.

Maybe I had nothing to say…

Frankly, I feel as though my inner landscape’s frozen; too numb to spare a thought for an axe. Of course, Mr. K has a lot more to say on the subject than the fragment I just abused, and anyone who’s read a bit of Herr Kafka would have just cause to roll their eyes at my half-assed invocation.

They would, anyway, if I ignored his larger point, which is this – literary events should stun us like a disaster or death. For Kafka, anything less than a liminal experience was not only a waste of time and intellectually dishonest.

Of course, this particular point of view came from a writer determined to destroy most of his work before it ever saw the light of day; a tough bar to meet. Yet the spirit of this nearly unattainable ethos is admirable.

A tad dramatic, but it resonates with me. If what you consume or create isn’t dangerous and raw, than how can you possibly expect to crack those dark depths?

Let me go wandering in search of those narratives which make me grieve. It is time to threaten my comfortable isolation.

Let the waters run black until, once again, they pulse red.

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Weapon of Choice

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” ~ Jack London

I just haven’t been feeling it this last week. When I sit down to write, there are no images, emotions, or ideas compelling me to work. Nothing. Nada. Nunco. Knowing ideas are a writer’s cheapest commodity, it’s been frustrating.

Because I’m certain there’s no such thing as writer’s block, this is as temporary as it is annoying. This too shall pass.  But to hurry things along, I’ve developed rituals and exercises to get the creative lubricant moving. (Why the’re not effective at the moment is anther story.)

But I’m curious: what do you do?

What do you do when your writing is stale and stalled out? When you decide to go Jack London on a piece, and go hunting for inspiration, do you have a “go-to club” that gets the job done?

Mine’s usually music.

What’s yours?

Tracking the Dirty Work

Writing a synopsis for a dirty story might not sound difficult, but crafting the perfect little teaser has never come easy to me. Optimally, as synopsis should be fifty-words that encapsulate almost the entire piece while leaving out just enough to intrigue a reader. Getting this right is a task I’ve always found challenging. Oddly enough, forcing myself to write a synopsis before a story’s finished often helps me to figure out what the hell I’m ‘actually’ doing.

A weird way to work…I know, but often it helps.

Oh, and I’m using the space to keep running word counts and updates on project ideas and goals.

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Life is Good

Life is good. It also happens to be kicking my ass.

This last month has been a whirlwind of events leading to a lot of work, deadlines, and some annoying realities of my trade. I’d give out details, but nobody reading would give half a fuck about them. Suffice to say, the aforementioned whirlwind has left little time to write dirty things for this site. (more…)