An’ It’s 1-2-3 What Are We Writin’ For? -OR- Para-vice Lost

A big thanks to Rawrahs from for starting the new year in a style and voice all his own. Please visit him regularly at the link above. You won’t regret it.  …Zach

Writers write. Different writers write for different reasons. And please, make no mistake, all writers are “different”. The moving writer writes and having writ moves on.

The objective measure of writing success is: Readers? Book sales? Technorati rating? A byline? A paycheck? Critical praise and acclaim? A movie deal? Being aggregated on Huff Po, The Daily Beast, The Great Orange Satan? A six-figure advance on your next work? A Pulitzer? A Newberry?

Where better than a writer’s blog to pose such questions? I’ve attained ONE of the above.

Is it purely money, compliments, and publicity by which we measure?

Biographer, columnist, comedian, composer, creator, dialogist, essayist, freelance, ghostwriter, hack, ink slinger, journalist, novelist, originator, playwright, poet, producer, prose writer, reporter, scribbler, scribe, scripter, speech writer, word slinger, wordsmith, word whore, words-for-hire, will write for food…

Does where one writes matter?
Does what?
Does when?
Who decides what words are seen?

If number of readers is the determinate, does that mean that David Fucking Brooks is a great writer? Any better than the graffiti artist whose work is seen daily, by millions? What about the shithouse poet?

For twenty bucks you can buy the paperback edition of Writer’s Market. For ten bucks you can get the Kindle version. Do you write first, then find a market or do you find a market then write for it? If a particular market is squat upon by a stable of nags who’ve been wrong about everything, by what dint do they continue to get paid to occupy their lofty writing aerie to spew out another thousand words of bullshit?

If one manages to infiltrate the villagers’ circle jerk, does one have to abide by the “say nae a bad word towards another villager” creed?

Is there a more dysfunctional career path than writing? …Anything one could do that is more soul-crushing? Anything more fickle?

Who do you read? How did you find them? I realize these are impolite questions, perhaps unanswerable even, yet I ask all the same.

Is there a hierarchy of writers? A club? A selection committee? A secret handshake?

You are here reading. You arrived, probably expecting to read Zach’s latest insight, but instead find me beebling on about this crap. I’d apologize, but that’s not much help to you, since it’s not particularly heartfelt.

It this occupation too diluted or too deluded?

If you’ve read this far, did you expect an answer? You know the answer for yourself, but how does that apply to those of us who construct words for your reading pleasure?

I look for answers in works that seem to attract readers and find little rhyme or reason beyond the mass-hysteria herd mentality. There isn’t much of a market for anything you don’t want to hear, regardless of how desperately you may need to hear it.

We read to escape. Does that mean that writers who can’t cater to the escapist market are trapped? I read many thousands upon thousands of words each day, and sometimes attempt to distill what I’ve read into a palatable quaff; trying to turn something distasteful or absurd into bite-sized, digestible nuggets. It’s a processing process that ingests, excludes; then extrudes.

I am about to start ingesting a compendium entitled “Deadline Artists” billed and touted as THE best of the absolute best in the fine columnist tradition. Wish me luck.

Should not our daily word-gruel contain a minimum RDA of useful nutrients. Our diet determines our fitness. I am Brussel Sprouts?

5 thoughts on “An’ It’s 1-2-3 What Are We Writin’ For? -OR- Para-vice Lost

  1. I have thought about why I read. Reading can create a community. When I read things that are important I share them with friends. we talk about them. I regularly talk with friends about what they regularly read in New Yorker and many have read them or will if I mention it;
    in another world people (I also do this) read to participate in larger world (I hate to use the word “intellectual” but I thought and still think there are “great works” of our world and culture that make up the metaphors and images we have in our brains. If still have it it my mind to go back and read some of the “great books” I missed.
    Same goes for music I feel that if there is something that people perceive as great (n any realm from classical to current pop and every step along the way and off the way), I like to listen and see what they think is important.
    relating back to the digital world and its impact from past post, I enjoy Spotify. As much as I miss record (cd) stores, I love the fact that I can now read in a newspaper or magazine that someone likes a new record or musician and I can immediately listen to it

    • Thanks Ron. I suppose I might be trying to live in the wrong community.
      I love pointed discussion and was blessed/cursed with a cynical streak.
      We oughta stick to what we know, which may be next to nothing in the big picture.

      When you go back to great works, you can safely skip Ivanhoe, Inorganic Chemistry
      and most of Hemingway’s Fiction. (g)

      Ahh music! Where subjective tastes can find what speaks to them.

    • When you find the innkeeper who’ll exchange hope for beer, you might want to keep that to yourself else you’ll find a long line on your next visit.

      One of the wonders of this computer age and self-publishing is the catch-22 it creates for both readers and writers on what to read and write. Pounding out prose for fun? Ask Zach about that tomorrow…

      -bill aka Rehctaw

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