Tuesday, August 13, 2013

On Wanting to Be a Writer, and Why it Might Not Work

I want to be a writer, because all writers are miserable. It would be better if my misery came as part of a territory.

But really, that's why. I want an excuse to be miserable. That's not morbid of me, because everyone is miserable in their own way. Writers can own it though, trademark misery as their own. Who wouldn't want that?

I think writers can own misery because they attempt something inherently impossible for a career. They attempt to convey the human experience in text. This can't be done, precisely because it is experience, and experience is only gathered by our senses. Reading, of course, is not a sense. A good writer may be able to trigger a reader's senses, but it remains secondhand. The goal of writing is an impossible thing, and writers bear the burden of trying it anyway, because they are desperate to be the owners misery.

Why the writer feels the need to convey their human experience (impossible) is a question whose answer far exceeds the faculties of my attempted logic. I only know that it is enjoyable, and impossible. Hence the misery.

Even right now, I am sitting here at 2:13 in the morning (reason enough for misery), and I am thinking how poorly I am currently conveying my "experience" as a "writer." And it holds no matter that I just said doing such a thing is impossible. It's a bit of paradoxical warfare, where my desire to be a writer is deeply embattled against my own writing. Hence the misery.

If all this is true, if the goal of writing is an intrinsic impossibility, it is quite obvious why, almost mathematically, the best writers are also the most miserable people. A really good writer gets very close to the impossibility of relaying human experience. Getting so close with so much effort, all the while realizing the futility of said effort, has got to be invariably miserable. Edgar Allen Poe, Virginia Woolfe, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Jack London: all incredible writers. All incredibly miserable people. I want that.

Most of the writers above also had miserable upbringings. I will have to overcome this in order to become a great, miserable writer. I have had virtually no hardship, and I blame my parents for this. Thanks a lot mom and dad, for making my childhood so cozy and nice that I have no misery-fuel to use in my writing.

Of course, all this poses quite a challenge for the aspiring writer. I, for one, could not even figure out which words to capitalize in the title of this, not to mention account for the existential unfeasibility that underlines writing philosophy.

Also, there really are not any great writers named Jeremy. Don't immediately assign insignificance to this. It is a real trepidation. I fear that if my writing ever does approach prominence, it will rebound against a barrier that blocks all those with common, uninteresting names. Just consider the list of authors above. All such writers names. Is this why some writers use pen names? Was Edgar Allen Poe's real name Joe Smith? And would not his writing have been degrees more insignificant if it was? No one cares about a guy named Joe. Edgar, though, now that's a name.

This is what I feel about writers, and why I might not be able to be one.

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