Thursday, October 15, 2009

Get Off My Lawn, Part MCMXVIII (except you, smut peddlers)

"Yeah, that title'll reel 'em in."

C'mon. Who can refuse smut.

Look, Blogger, stop fucking with the prima interfacies. Sure, I may have preferred the labels on the side managing their posts, and I will admit to taking great pleasure in the ability to, pre-upload -- doesn't that sound vaguely naughty, imagine if the internets ever got porn, be still my beating -- choose between door nos. 1, 2 and 3 for the final destination of what will no doubt be a hedonistic image, the above an obvious exception proving the rule don't worry I'll toss up something scantily-clad in a bit, but I'm getting old and new things, but not new albums, frighten me. No, this isn't another review of a band 99% of you wouldn't listen to if I paid in precious metals -- METAL! \^^/-- but that's your loss you stuperous funkers, spin that Carpenters LP for the nine billionth time, wuss.

Speaking of nine billion times, I believe that's how often I've said, mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the laziest of them all, because I'm not the fairest even in a swanky pinstriped three piece but I have started three separate tales for the third annual Writer's Digest fictionalizing contest and each has keeled over at about word three hundred, I smite with mercy. As much as I dig the concept of storytelling and relish reading the works of others, I cannot tell tales with aplomb because I enjoy going off on tangents and the idea of some fucking editorial tool, likely a failed writer and thus diabolical kin to music critics, dictating that I streamline this, that, the other thing and that doodad collecting dust over there in the corner makes me want to set people on fire and curse their soul with the blackest magic, all serving the throne of readability, whatever the fuck that means.

"Dude, it's a contest. There isn't an editor."

You need an editor. Oh, and that ain't hubris, I'd wager 95% of my fellow citizens who consider themselves "writers" are far more skilled than I, but I say unto thee, what's wrong with a little nonsensical plotless plot now and then, what's wrong with no one talking for three whole sentences? (Seriously, must everything be dialogue? Can't I just sit in my head for 500 pages?)

I'm not even sure why I'm bitching -- okay, it's one of the few things enjoyable in life -- because the only work partially in the non-garbage can is the destined-to-be-unfinished Novel From Hell and a fuckload of unreadable poetry, especially my kind of non-MFA, purpled junk, but I'm going to blame the good Doc for this instance of third-class complaining, because I'd never blame myself for my faults, don't be silly. In the commentary section he lamented a bit about what he sometimes feels, and I'm paraphrasing and perhaps twisting the entire meaning on its head, is an overuse of a literary crutch, the dreaded 'write what you know.' That exact dilemma isn't what concerns me here because, if you'll permit me to wax Rumsfeldian, I don't really know what I supposedly know or should know, but the undercurrent remains the same, dance the hoochie koo: write what you love.

"As profound as ice cream is delicious."

My point is that Frankenstein graftings or forcing an end -- unless it's the apocalypse, then bring it on because I believe seeing actual hailstorms of flaming sulfur would be kind of cool -- is a bad gig. I can conjure up a confluence of a moment, a person, a thought, the physical environment and write multiple pieces on that singular emotional space, each being the intersection of said memory and how it coursed through my veins at the time the piece itself was composed, reflections of the same light in ever-changing waters, comically hypocritical if you know me at all, given my general disdain for deconstructionist extremity, sometimes a potato is a fucking potato, you frog. That is what tugs at the heartstrings like a sadistic puppeteer, not busting out well-plotted stories even if they're on that same confluence I've milked five too many times already. My circulatory system simply cannot sustain a quality effort over such an extended period of time before fatal bloodloss. Melodramatic, huh?

Oh well, back to unpublishable verse. Wait, I've got it, I know what'll sell, mystery lines! Husband and wife detective team fights crime -- in rhyme!

Another unsolvable case?
Not with John and Jane Catchyname!
A vicious kill with style and grace,
an innocent suffers the blame!
Try your best, public defender,
still stuck playing don't drop the soap.
Wait! Unorganized offender
screwed up big time, so grab that hope!
"Your one fatal mistake," says Jane,
"Was leaving this behind, says John
to suspect number eight. "A stain
of blood, yours, you filthy ex-con!"


Oh yeah, almost forgot, your reward for skipping reading this tripe.

I've got the solution to your one-pipe problem, my dear detective.


Übermilf said...

I need you to physically prepare yourself, because I know you've been sick and I don't want to be accused of reckless homicide.

Properly fortified? Good. Because...

I agree with you. "Write what you know" is only good if you are writing an instruction manual. I mean, if you're going to tell someone how to make strudel or assemble a bomb, you need to know your subject.

But seriously, if I only wrote what I personally know right now, I would be writing the most boring stories in the world. Next to yours.

Holte Ender said...

I didn't skip it, I read it twice, like I do with Shakespeare, hmm The Bard of Cleveland, has a certain ringlessness to it. I have one word for you: QUIT. Don't ever do it, don't even consider it, keep sending your scribblings to the Reader's Digest or whoever else will take, when they say "thanks, but no thanks" send more and even more. But most important, don't give up your day job, yet.

sunshine said...

I hear and feel your frustration in this post.
I agree though, you should NOT give up. You ARE good. Everyone likes different things. We like you. You are our type of writer .. or else we wouldn't come here everyday and read you.

Don't give up. You're smart, funny and I"m betting not as ugly as you let on. :P I can see the back cover of your novel right now..

Loved the "Old Man Yells At Cloud".. picture. That'll be you in 40 years...LOL. :)


sunshine said...

Oh, and next time.. how bout a bit of "eye candy" for the ladies that read to the bottom of your posts... I'm thinking.. Gerard Butler in 300! ;P

Randal Graves said...

übermilf, fine, completely shatter my worldview, you heartless woman.

And if yours are the most boring, I can live with being second.

holte, perhaps this mysterious "readability" isn't all that bad. It's not a notion of quitting writing, just quitting writing fiction because my skills/heart aren't in it. I'm championing writing what one personally digs/feels comfortable with. Flash fiction is about as big as I can write before my brain goes duuuuuuuh.

sunshine, see above, but you haven't read the Novel From Hell, so restrain your praise. It's fucking awful. And did nunly put you up to that? No eye candy for chicks, it's rule number six!

sunshine said...

You know me. I always try to stick my two cents in. Even when I don't really know what the hell I'm talking about. As it seems is the case here.
Next time, I'll just keep my trap shut. :D (yes, yes.. it will be very hard but I'm SURE I can do it.)


Demeur said...

Why write about what you know? That's so passe. It's far more financially rewarding to write what you don't know. Look at Palin. Now Orly Taitz needs to get off her butt before that $20K fine kicks in because we all know how well she writes.

Liberality said...

The picture of cloud yelling almost makes me wish I could watch that series on television--almost!

Mary Ellen said...

I just loving reading your posts. Afterward I feel like I just got off the American Eagle at Six Flags...happy that I've survived and ready to go back for more.

What everybody else said...never stop writing. You're kinda like Motzart...not everyone understood him when he started out, but who got the last laugh?

Randal Graves said...

sunshine, I don't really know what the hell I'm talking about, but that's never stopped me. You still ain't getting any eye candy!

demeur, I'm not so sure you were born in America, but I can see your blog from my house.

liberality, c'mon, embrace the shallow, buy a teevee!

nunly, if we're going to equate this with music then I could probably pass as Süssmayr's third-string copyist.

Tengrain said...

Graves, you swine!

Write what you see and paint what you know, you'll go places!

As for the rest, Anne Lamott Bird by Bird.



MRMacrum said...

Well first of all, I would like to say that even though the nice Sunshine thinks you might be better looking than you think you are, I know or maybe prefer to think you are not even close to as good looking as you let on. It feeds my ego to think this and makes me feel superior in every way with the exception of a few things that may or may not mean much to this conversation. But then you never know things until you read about them. Hearing about them is one thing and more often than not unreliable information. But reading them casts them in foldable stone so to speak.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Sounds to me like you are making excuses for not pleasing yourself with your efforts. As sunshine also said, you have a crew here that likes what you write. And that's fine, but if you really want to win hearts and pervert minds unbended already, you will need to play the game better. A little more Carpenters and a little less Metal. Of course, I am not sure I would like that, but then I think "Lord of the Flies" was a romance novel.

Christopher said...


Speaking of the Carpenters, ever hear the rumor that Karen Carpenter recorded a rap album shortly before her death and her control-freak brother, Richard, destroyed the tapes after she was buried?

I've often wondered if the girl from Downey, CA and, who was embraced by uber-GOPer Richard Nixon, would've been happier if she had attained some street cred?

Oh well. We will never know now.

susan said...

I've been toying with the idea that if we do reincarnate it might just so happen that we can go backward or forward. Perhaps you'll awaken some day in a Providence garret sharing an inkwell with HP and maybe I'll be decorating the cave walls with pictures of animals while the boys hunt some mammoth. Silly to write what you know; better to write what you like. If I painted what I see there'd be too many white corridors and very few tigers or Crows.

Beach Bum said...

While we are on the subject some dude at the local community college told me once that I should write about my world and the people and places in it. Figuring I was getting actual advice from the fat, nerdy bastard I began to walk away until between chunks of the steak and cheese sub he was eating he added with enormous biting sarcasm that my world was the only place where what I wrote made any sense.
Fat dude took another bite of his sub, began to choke, and freaked out making hand signs that he wanted someone to do the Heimlich maneuver on his sorry ass.

I walked away thanking him figuring he was right and have been happy ever sense. Oh yeah, someone did come and save him.

Tom Harper said...

"spin that Carpenters LP for the nine billionth time, wuss." OK, I confess. I really hate heavy metal and everything else with a beat and an electric guitar. The Carpenters are my favorite group of all time; followed closely by the Osmonds.

There, it's off my chest.

Randal Graves said...

tengrain, wait, now I'm supposed to buy a bird? But I've got four cats!

mrmacrum, I like to think of myself as attractive as a Darkthrone riff. As a "writer," I'm glad folks dig my stuff, as I'm sure you do. I'm just realizing that, paraphrasing Mr. Hunter, long-form fiction's a loser's game, for me, anyway. I can't plot, and honestly, I don't even enjoy it all that much. Verse is more fun.

Hey, no metal today. Bloody hell, I love this album.

christopher, are you sure it was Karen Carpenter and not Tupac under yet another pseudonym?

susan, Silly to write what you know; better to write what you like. I agree 104.9 percent.

Too bad I don't have a time machine, I'd bring HPL back and expose him to some of his creative offspring, lurching, psycho doom bands.

BB, now that's a first class zing.

tom, the Carpenters or the Osmonds? Don't make me choose!

MRMacrum said...

Making a distinction between "write what you know" and "write what you like" has no meaning to me. Writing what I like is when I actually put words into some kind of order or disorder. Just writing is what I like. Drawing on my experiences or opinions is writing what I know or think I know. This is a fun activity for me. I have no grand dream of making the bestseller list.

So yeah Randal, write what you like. And write what you know. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Christopher said...


Could be.

Karen was dark skinned so Tupac may have been in drag, or Karen was in drag, or, well, someone was in drag and rapping.

Dr. Zaius said...

How dare you wax Rumsfeldian in the same post that you mention ice cream. :o(

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