Monday, June 28

I spend a lot of time writing things by hand on paper. I am attached to this process, possibly to the point of compulsion, and short of grievous bodily injury, debilitating illness, or the dementia that will almost certainly accompany any old age I happen to attain, I'm not likely to give it up.

HOWEVER, I have lately made an observation: The majority of this writing could charitably be described as total, unalloyed crap.

This is not a judgment borne of false modesty. I have none. Few individuals possessed of the temerity required to (for example) compile and disseminate copies of their own poems can reasonably be described as modest. I am confident that I'm not fooling a single one of you. You're pretty discerning people, for the most part.

No, what now strikes me about the whole enterprise is a close relative of a well-known academic cliché:

Publish or suck.

Good writing demands a reader. Or, better, the idea of a reader demands good writing. There is a question of respect. A question of what you will make when you hope that your work will be put to use by another person, whose time and effort you are obligated not to waste.

Private writing is, I think, as inevitable as jacking off, and it shares many of the same qualities. It might keep you sane, and it might even make you a better writer, but after a while good god damn are you ever sick of closing the notebook and going to bed alone.