Of Starbucks writers and Richard Madoc.

28 May

I can’t fucking write.

This is basically what I tell myself every time I open a Word document.

Over the last month, or so, I’ve gone on a handful of pretentious writing dates with a friend.  Friend clack, clack, clacks away while I sit and stare at the blank white page of Word and wonder why it can’t look like Word Perfect (circa 1992).  Friend then shares what he’s written: a charming piece ripe with vivid description.  I look back to my document, now tainted by various disjointed thoughts hastily strung together by an unpractised hand and disappointing vocabulary.

I am reasonably certain Friend does not mean for this to be my immediate reaction to his writing.  The “charming piece ripe with vivid description” bit yes, but not my instant self-loathing.  Friend is a good guy.  He goes on writing dates as much for me as for him.

This is such a load of crap.

I’ve always been bad for gauging other people’s lawns in comparison to mine.  They always look so lush.  The trick is to walk over them.  That’s when you realize the grass is the same; it’s the environment that’s different.

I can write, but I write differently.  I tend to steer pretty clear of descriptive prose, favouring things a little more plainly written.  Friend loves Tolkien – you know, the guy who could describe a patch of grass for thirty-or-so pages?  It stands to reason that Friend would be more inclined to write lovely description, it’s what he studies.  I prefer one or two fewer words.  It’s not worse or better, just different


I am beginning to come to terms with the theory that “life isn’t about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself” (author unknown).  While I believe in Fate, it’s unreasonable, and completely lazy, to think that you will miraculously come across your lost self while skipping rocks over a lake some sunny afternoon.  Self is something you have to work at.  You have to study, try and fail then try again, love and lose then love again, break bones, suffer heart ache and crawl back up from your lowest points to become the self you seek.  (It would be lovely if your self was sitting in the middle of a Cracker Jack box though, wouldn’t it?  Easy to find and sprinkled with caramel sugar!)

Writing, for me, is a lot like not finding yourself.  I’m not going to Richard Madoc my way into a glowing narrative.  I’m going to have to work for it.  I’m going to have to bleed and sweat for it.  I’m going to scream and cry out of desperate frustration.  I’m going to have to make myself stay motivated and seek out inspiration.  I’m going to have to work my ass off.

Will I?  I suppose I can’t say for sure, the future’s a hazy sumbitch, but I like to think I’ll try.  I’ve stuck it out this long and the itch just keeps getting stronger.  It’s just work.  Everything worth having in life requires a little elbow grease.

(Image @ George & Doris Hauman)

Savage Garden – To the Moon and Back


Sidenote: after I posted this, WordPress told me that I had successfully written 185 posts.  (Woohoo!)  After it told me that, it gave me a quote.  I would like to share that quote with you because it is so serendipitously appropriate:

I do not like to write – I like to have written. 
– Gloria Steinem


3 Responses to “Of Starbucks writers and Richard Madoc.”

  1. lissa May 30, 2012 at 6:27 am #

    you’ve describe almost exactly how I am. I also write in a more plain language. I once read Charles Dicken’s Little Dorrit and there was this chapter about a five minute dinner that was describle using 12 and more pages. I could never do that. I think writing for some is a habit and for others, it’s something they have to work at it. I think it’s worth it if that’s what you really want to do.

    I hope you have a lovely day.

    (visiting from Better Blogging Network.

    • Kim May 30, 2012 at 6:53 am #

      Hi Lissa – thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! 🙂

      You’re not wrong, writing does come a bit more easily to some than to others and it’s no less right either way you do it. 🙂 Heh, I’m also really glad I’m not the only one who tends to avoid vast, flowery description. I see it’s merit, but I tend to prefer the point to the journey. 🙂

      I hope you have a wonderful day as well! 🙂


  1. Of Starbucks writers and Richard Madoc Pt2: Don’t ever listen to yourself. « Fox You (Very Much) - June 3, 2012

    […] know how I said earlier that every time I sit down to write, what hear is “I can’t fucking write” and then later I […]

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