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Gavin Shulman

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A Modern Writer's Existential Crisis: And Other Jokes

Posted: 02/23/2012 5:06 pm

In this messy, mammoth, modern, multi-dimensional media environment it can sometimes leave a writer wondering: who am I?

I could be a blogger. Dropping disposable bits of my life on to the Internet. A diary of life's diarrhea. A living diorama. A list of everywhere I've dined. I could document my experience for other's consumption, and then hope there are enough people who care. I could update frequently with up to the date information on everything I'm up to. I could give you every detail so you'd never have to wonder just who that guy is. But where would be the fun in that?

I could be a tweeter. Dripping endless drops of wisdom into a never-ending, living stream. Like: Why does no one ever say, "I don't know" on television news? Or: Only girls get sick. And: Shouldn't Stevie Wonder be a judge on The Voice? I could count my characters for the rest of my days in the hopes of creating a character that a bunch of folks would want to chase. I could rely solely on my wit and stuff. I could just use my thumbs. But what's the future in that?

I could be a booker. Dating myself day by day. Starring in my own soap opera. Or movie if I want to be grandiose. Complete with my own cast, script, and marketing campaign. Check out my taglines. I could project myself up on that thin sliver screen. That folds up or sits on a desk. For everyone to watch and review. Oh, I hope they like it. I could try to create my own network to spread my story around the world of the wide web. I could be my own tabloid. I could be famous. But who would be my real friends then?

I could be a tumbler. Doing the same thing over and again. Putting glasses on things. A dog. A dick. A dead baby. Who knows what he'll put glasses on next? Oh my god, is that a homeless man, with glasses on? That's crazy. How did he do that? Man, that is awesome. I'm totally coming back every day. I can't wait to see what he puts glasses on next. I could put glasses on anything. I could put glasses on anyone. I could start wearing glasses. But for how long?

I could be a tuber. Dictating the words instead of just hanging them out to dry. Getting rid of the reader entirely. Who wants the text when they can just watch the video? I could use all sorts of special effects. A green screen is so much more enticing than a white one. And all these new programs make editing so easy. I could never have to worry about punctuation, again. I could quit seeking clarity. I could stop wondering about whether this can ever get published. But will I then know if it's good?

I could be a gawker. Depending on other people's content. Adding some snarky paragraphs. Including a link. And an ironic headline. Regurgitating a report. Gagreggating on someone else's concoction. Taking a big fat excerpt. I could never have to come up with an idea on my own. I could weave the nasty-ass web ever tighter. I could be a professional. But when would I get to call something my own?

Or, could I just be a writer? Delving desperately into a topic. Searching for an original thing to say. Trying to squeeze out another poop joke. Struggling to finish my sentence. Sure, I could try to be clever with every letter. I could try to satirize and fall. I could try to enrage, enlighten and somehow produce a cohesive piece. But why would anyone ever want to read that?

 

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