There’s so much that’s happened over the past month that I really want to talk about. Unfortunately, I just can’t seem to get my thoughts organized.
I’ve been reading a lot of fascinating books about the history of my little state of Florida this month. Gilbert King’s Devil in the Grove, T.D. Allman’s Finding Florida, and Billy Townsend’s Age of Barbarity.
This past month I’ve also read: what I’m sure has got to be one of the most laissez faire racist cookbook I’ve ever read… The Cross-Creek Cookery, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings…a book on menstruation and other feminine issues called Flow, by Elissa Stein and Susan Kim, the inch thick book that is the agreement between the CWA union and my husband’s employer, the entire Percy Jackson series, again, (both the Greek and Roman stories as far as they’ve been released, the 8 year old just started this series herself) by Rick Riordan…it’s been a slow reading month for me.
While I strongly recommend all of those books, the Townsend book has done several things for me. First, it finally explained why my grandmother was always so sure that I would be hurt for my radical political and social views…turns out that my little Palatka was just full of this kind of thing when she was young. Second, (thank you Facebook) it allowed me to strike up a casual, electronic friendship with the author. We’re from the same town after all…though he is from a higher tax bracket.
Townsend is a journalist, with a BA in writing…meaning the guy writes for a living.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’m really shy in person but I get to say whatever I want if I write it. I can be whoever I want, do whatever I want, see, taste, feel, hear, experience, etc, whatever I want. AND no one is going to talk over me or interrupt me…although the ignoring what I say is still fairly equal written or spoken. I like writing fiction, I like writing editorials, I like writing this rarely seen little blog. I just like writing.
But, I have a little bit of a problem with it as well.
Technically, I have a GED and a certification in small engine repair. That’s it.
So I’ve never actually thought that I could write anything.
Don’t get me wrong, I type shit. I’ve been stringing words into sentences for as long as I can remember. But writing is something completely different.
Writing takes the ability to organize one’s thoughts…hence the title of this post. If you’ve read any of my posts, I very much lack that ability.
Someone says: You should really try writing something professionally.
And then I sit for two weeks staring at a blank screen…
So they say: Write about what you know.
And I forget how to do everything.
It’s not writer’s block, I’m not blocked, I have thousands of ideas running through my head, I just can’t seem to paste them into any kind of order.
Stephen King, in On Writing, explains this best using James Joyce:
“A friend came to visit James Joyce one day and found the great man sprawled across his writing desk in a posture of utter despair.
James, what’s wrong?’ the friend asked. ‘Is it the work?’
Joyce indicated assent without even raising his head to look at his friend. Of course it was the work; isn’t it always?
How many words did you get today?’ the friend pursued.
Joyce (still in despair, still sprawled facedown on his desk): ‘Seven.’
Seven? But James… that’s good, at least for you.’
Yes,’ Joyce said, finally looking up. ‘I suppose it is… but I don’t know what order they go in!”
This is where I am right now. I have a dozen things running through my head and yet no idea what order they should go into. My mind looks like one of those crumbling barns you see in shows like American Pickers…you’re pretty sure there’s at least one thing of value in all that mess, but you have to crawl through a lot of shit in order to get to it.
Right now I’m still in the crawling through shit phase of the operation.