I’m writing a lot of dark stuff. Well I’m writing outtakes of dark stuff which is working for me on so many levels. Poetry, stories, diatribes, which I’m not sharing in my usual way. It’s a matter of getting out what’s deeper inside the heart and mind, which is easier said than done. And a lot of crap.
Painful it is. But joyous.
I’ve heard it said umpteenth times “write what you know”. I’ve talked before about how this particular tritism has no effect on me. I’ve always written about what I don’t know. And make up words like “tritism”, which you may get in context. But for me, my writing life is always a process of learning and self-discovery. Cathartic as they say (and they do), which also sounds trite, but a transformative journey and growth exercise where I don’t know the destination and always learn something new. About myself and the world.
I’m still growing.
Good, bad and ugly. And yes dark stuff. I’m charting new territory. Some who know me might say I routinely write dark stuff. Sometimes maybe (smiling). But new dark and complicated stuff in that I’m daring myself to dig deeper (as I said), and not be redundant. Along with incessantly aspiring to get better at the nuts and bolts. Unfortunately that often goes by the wayside, which is fine, although it’s always about them. And I’ve never been shy about saying when I get a personal assistant I’ll have a LOT of work for them. I’m unruly. But anyway I’ve rallied enough, with both pride and humility, in writing and life, against becoming the worst thing of all:
I’ve said it before.
Over the last two plus years I’ve written umpteeth to the sixteenth power without let-up and been respectfully read enough and published enough, all this for a plastic-spoon like me. I have nothing but appreciation for all who’ve read and helped along the way. I’d kiss you if you were here (with tongue!). But I’ve reached a point where it’s time for a fresh, different and more necessary creative challenge, particularly as I’ve become intolerant of much of my writing, where to my own heart and mind and ears it sounds cliché, the same old ideas not expressed any better, in a form too familiar, with an execution too predictable.
I’ve read everything I’ve ever written so I’m at a disadvantage.
Maybe you haven’t. Maybe this is all new to you. Maybe you’re getting a bom-bidda-bang out of eating at the buffet that is Pete. Awesome! I’m glad you’re affirmed. But currently I’m spending time revisiting and shopping out my old stuff to myself and new readers, not only to objectively assess, but to see where I need to go. OUCH. And to those who have been with me all this time, and to those who have only recently happened upon me, I hope it doesn’t change your high opinion of me (smile again). But at this juncture, writing the dark stuff has zero to do with any audience or writing trajectory. It has more to do with being totally different than I’ve been.
Which this essay ain’t.
How on earth can you wake up every day and take your shower, pack your lunch, and go off to work to do the same thing you did yesterday? Same drive, same people, same problems, same pencils. My hat’s off to you. I never could. Not indefinitely anyway. But my lack of interest (or ability) to live conventionally has always been a blessing and a curse. In past success my ambition to learn to do things better and bigger has served me well. And from where I sit, those with too many years of experience, the “textbook theorists” (a moniker created by a long-standing virtual friend), those doing something particular with a “specialty”, have much less credibility to me than an out-of-the-gate upstart who’s riding the wave of youthful enthusiasm when he learns he’s actually good at something.
But he’s the guy I wanna watch. I never wanna be an old hat.
Get a new job.
Finally I can say- “And with that being said,” I’ll never lose my wildness. I’m pretty protective of it. My reckless and often feckless, unabashed, unbridled uninhibitedness. The unrealized and often sloppy crap I put on the page. Write how you know. The diaper I throw out the window. I’m calling it like I see it, but I’m committed to staying the young buck who’s breaking the rules and taking the risks because the only place he can thrive is out on a limb, choosing to go his most genuine and authentic way, with zero influence or regard for anything but honest, inventive expression.
Did that last sentence soar for you at all? Did any of them? Ever?