Pissing In The Gas Tank

I haven’t been blogging much, as I’m sure you have noticed. But my absence has not been out of some kind of laziness, nor lack of interest, lack of initiative or nor any other mental oppression. My limited blogging is rather, in this case, a very good sign. I find these days, sitting at the typewriter, that fiction is again flowing out of me and it’s flowing out with such momentum that there is little left in me which yearns to be expressed in this blog. Or, to put more simply, I’m using everything up on ink and staccato rhythms.

What am I working on? I’m not gonna tell you. (Ha. “Dick!”) I’m not gonna tell you for two reasons:

  1. It’s bad practice to go around telling people what you’re working on until it’s done. Because, if you never finish it then you look like a big talking, hot-air stuffed bag of bullshit. And, if it evolves into something else other that what you went around telling people then you look like a liar. And if it takes a long time to finish whatever it is then you look like a slacker (and maybe still, a shit bag). But more than anything else, telling people about what you’re working on becomes a way to seek validation and soon you may find yourself unable to continue without other people encouraging you to do so. It also becomes a way to substitute actual work. You all know people like this; people who talk, talk, & talk about their brilliant ideas and mind-blowing projects but never. ever. make. anything. (Many of us have been this person more than a few times.) Contrary to popular opinion, though, this does not come from having a lazy nature. (Well, sometimes it does.) We as living creatures are not of limitless energy. Even hypergiant stars, billions of times larger than the size of our sun, eventual peter out and die and our creative energy is similarly limited. The act of telling people about potential projects, uses energy and this is the same energy that it requires to bring that idea to life…so, rather than pissing gasoline into your ears, I’m hosing that fuel into my gas tank. I’m using it to make stuff.
  2. I couldn’t tell you what it is, even if I wanted to, because I don’t have a damn clue what it’ll end up being (if anything).

Writing in my experience has always been a process of craft. I wait for inspiration and I use that inspiration to propel me, at a manic pace, in a race toward the finish line. For the most part, everything that I’ve ever written was done so with a conscious path in mind. I may not have mapped out every small detail before hand but I knew where it would begin, where it would end and I knew the general path that it would take to get there.

But what i’ve been doing recently is contrary to all of this. I have been sitting at the typewriter at the same time every day and banging out 500-1500 words. Sounds very productive right? Well, imagine this, most days I sit down with no idea what the hell I’m gonna to writing about. And I mean no idea. I just start typing and I see what the hell happens, like walking in the woods with no map or destination. The surprising thing is that, I always seem to end up somewhere and in the process I’m discovering paths and trees, mushrooms and deer that I never imagined to ever see. It’s a fascinating and often frightening exercise. Of course, in someway, all these passages are all tangentially related, as they share me and my current state of mind in common, but in the end, I have no idea if they will even fit together into a unified whole that will make any damn sense to anybody but me. Yikes! It’s fucking nuts, but guess what? I don’t give a damn. For the first time in a long time, I’m enjoying pure creation.

Most days, I think of Philip Roth and how I read that he writes hundreds of pages of a new book before he even starts it, as if he has to work himself into the place where the book begins. Maybe that’s what I’m doing. Or maybe I’m writing the best shit I’ve ever written and it’s just for me. Weird. I guess I’ll find out. Should be an exciting road. Hopefully, I’ll spit some blogs out along the way.

📸 Steve Johnson
Published
Categorized as Thoughts

By C.A. Hall

Writer / Podcaster I'm a well-written sentence marred by a curse word. In another life I might have been a criminal profiler, a jazz drummer, an architect, an acrobat, an actor, or a children’s book illustrator.