Friday, November 04, 2005

The Game of Sardines

I Knew, But No Longer

"Write what you know," they said. "Write about something that happened in your life. Write what you know." So I tried. I really did. But I found that I don't know anything. Or at least anything that I can write about, and write well, when I'm trying too hard to write what I know.

I've learned much from the past, and this is one of the many things I discovered. I simply shouldn't write what I know. Who really wants to know about what it's like to wake up at 3am? I know I don't, and wish I'd quit trying to discover it. Who wants to know what it's like to stare at a computer monitor all day? Ok, who doesn't already know that one, anyway? Who wants to hear about the mollecular weight of Hydrogen and it's effects on the continuing existence of an endangered species of squirrel in the hippogriff-infested jungles of Zoombowow? Me too, but that's not something I know.

I tried writing what I know, and learned that it doesn't really work. Then I listened to several authors (good authors, even, I claim) speak. And not a single one of them claimed to write what they know. Most rather claim that they write to find out where the story's going.

Of course, I'm not going to claim to be a good author, nor am I even going to attempt to try. Creativity isn't my field, however much I pretend. No, when I write I write to see where the story has been. If my memory weren't so bad, then I might write about what I know.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Learn Me Something New

It's been a while since last I wrote anything of interest. I've made excuses before, and I'll make excuses again, I'm sure. I'm very good at making excuses, even though most of them are fairly obviously not true. But I still continue to insist that Nessie did swim all the way from Scotland to eat my homework that morning!

This time though, I suppose I have no more excuses. Not even ones that aren't true. I just apparently ran out of things to say. And since that's the truth, I fear, it cannot actually be an excuse. Not that it would have made a good excuse if I had tried. "I'm sorry, Ms. Smith, I couldn't finish writing my essay because I ran out of things to say! I didn't even write my name? Well, I ran out of things to say really, really early on!" Somehow I don't think I would have managed to do very well in that class.

Unless, of course, it was a physics class or something. I don't think they prefer having long essays handed in for homework. But still, the not writing my name thing would have hurt. Thankfully many teachers I've known have been masters of the process of elimination, and as such were able to tell which work was mine, even when my name wasn't adorning the upper-right corner (complete with date, hour, subject, expected grade, size of bribe, and anything else the instructor cared to know for the day).

Sometimes this may have not worked out as well as I hoped. Sometimes I didn't add my name because I was ashamed of the quality of the work, and would have prefered a 0 to that negative-fifteen for causing the teacher horrible gut-wrenching pain in reading. But I survived, as did most of the people that tried to teach me over the years.

One of these days I'll get around to starting to actually learn.

Sea Scape