Saturday, February 18, 2012

Why I haven't been writing.

Okay, so it's been almost 2 months since my last post and I meant to do better than that. Obviously, intent and reality haven't exactly collided there. But the thing is, I keep opening the new post page and closing it, dialing the first 6 numbers and hanging up before the seventh. Why would I do this?

I have a hard time imagining what I'm going to say that anyone will take the time to read. I'm not training for any races and I don't want to just post lists of what I had for dinner each day and so on, so what do I say?

When I first started writing posts about the world outside of triathlon, I got a lot of comments about how I was being depressing. People were worried about me. It was a little disconcerting and I stopped writing for a long time because I didn't want to scare people. I wanted to write, but I didn't know how.

Here's where it gets interesting, at least to me.

I started reading the new William Gibson book, Distrust that Particular Flavor, recently. It's a collection of articles and essays he's written over the years. A fiction writer's non-fiction output. Normally, I avoid these sorts of books because, like short story collections, they always let me down a bit. In this case though, as usually happens with Gibson, I got sucked in. What can I say, something about the way he writes always gets my wheels turning, and there was a passage in the very first essay that just triggered me. He's talking, oddly enough, about stereo equipment, and how he got talked into letting his friend install a big, high-end system for him. He says:

"It sounds fine.

But I'm not sure I really enjoy the music any more than I did before, on certifiably low-fi junk. The music, when it's really there, is just there. You can hear it coming out of the dented speaker grille of a Datsun B210 with holes in the floor. Sometimes that's the best way to hear it."

This is an odd leap, but it's the way my mind works. I got to thinking about writing, about the way I've written in the past and why I've been so reluctant to write again.

I write from a dark place. I always have. Angst and pain, at least in the written word, are about as natural to me as breathing. When I try to write upbeat stuff, chatty stuff, I feel a bit like a fraud. Not because I'm unhappy, but because with every word I type I can feel myself trying. Trying to govern my tone, to string together sentences in ways that aren't right. Like playing a harmonica with my nose. It can get it to make noise, but it's messy, and it sure as hell don't sound so good.

So where does that leave me? Gagged until I find my keyboard's Prozac? Nah.

I'd love to think that I can just write happy, but that's going to take a lot of work. It ain't gonna happen quickly. Not to mention, the dark place has done well by me with the written word. If I get back to fiction, I can almost guarantee I'll be using it extensively.

I'll try and post something here at least once a week. Dark, light, atonal or completely together, something. Read along if you want to. I'll be happy to have the company.