11/27/2012 10:39 am ET Updated Jan 27, 2013

On the Writer

A Writer writes
His placid dreams,
Or daily vision shares,
In public view
To test his schemes
Of human truth and blessed errs.

The ink or pixels
That spell out thought
Are vessels for the birth
Of every new
And drastic plot
Meant to change the spinning earth.

Or too they just but shoulder
Some burden or some pain,
Which readers need not carry
Once they struggle past the name.


The ever enchanting haunt of a question that pursues writers to their grave is, "What should I write about?" The greats throughout time have aggressively sought to tackle this philosophic battle and most, which will be remembered, chose topics that quench the reader's thirst of escape by drowning them in words arranged to tantalize and teach the author's particular view of the meaning of human existence.

It is devoutly unfair to just pose the question to the individual, beckoning them to spark their own grey matter in hopes that they are able to find any design or substance relative to personal understanding within life. That would be too selfish of the writer, and beg too much of the reader. In essence writers tend to create the general "self-help" book in simple to read allegorical or metaphoric terms. In this way the reader may be fooled into learning, even though a progression of the mind is truly what they want in the first place, or at least pretend to want.

Yes, the virtuoso authors have bamboozled the dim witted readers for hundreds of years. So what sly underhanded teachings might they have me impart? Hemingway would have me teach you about bravery and courage and valor in the midst of earthly hell and the insufferable ghoulish aspects of man's own creation which always ends in death. Blake would beckon that the beauty of God and the duality of the earth should be expressed through pretty prose. Tolkien surely would sit me down and say that intellectual progress, kinship and enjoyment of the little pleasures in life are the aspects of which I should focus my tales upon while encouraging the work to be read over some honey bread and warm red wine. But Wilde would scoff at all this and point to the uncontrollable humor in every attempt at a serious dialogue; for comedy is the only prevailing insult that is truly constant. What of the Bard? Shakespeare would eloquently pronounce the necessity for long breathed twisting language, never tepid, that would split the opposing hemispheres of ones' brain in an eternal disharmonious infecting and disparaging quarrel over true meaning, all while proclaiming the earnest importance of a proper and precise villain.

But what have I to say? More importantly, what do I have the right to teach? As the thought behind writing seems, even in comedy, so serious a thing. It also doesn't help that in the back of my mind I already know my greatest stories I will write already exist. You cannot read them, and I have not discovered the correct code of which to decipher them quite yet, but they are there. Whether in journalism or fantasy, the writer finds the words that preexist and organize them into the correct marriage of vocabulary arrangement. It has always been there, the sentences and prose, of your future favorite novels. The words are all there, I just have to put them in the right order. And when I do I hope they spell out a truth that enriches the soul from so many truths and teachings that multiple insightful lessons can be learned.

That escape, as well as enrichment, is simultaneously inescapable. I dream of English Literature majors arguing about what I really meant till spittle runs down their red faces all in the hopes of an "A" in class participation. I ask myself the questions that should be asked; "What story begs to be told? What story do we need today, more than ever? And in what order do the words go?" But before I would tackle such a personal and lengthy discussion with myself, I would rather ask the question, "What is my duty as a writer?" What did the creators of literature before me know about the impact of words that I need to keep in mind during my maniacal rants?

So far what I have discovered is that the duty of the writer is to explore their mind and decipher the truths there-in about what is without. To find what others miss and produce an intelligible and enjoyable description of it. It is a lonely and secluded existence. But this solitude is the only possible way for this most exceptional and important of professions. It is impossible to create these organizations of thought on the outside of a deranged rattled scull. Truth comes from within and this is where it must come from. A writer always writes alone. It has always been this way, and so it always must be. They discover the plagues of societies and human nature that most miss, point out the absence of recognition to others who are thinking the exact same thing, but could not put their finger on it. They change the lives of those incapable of doing it themselves. Writers write to better the world as they see fit.

But don't, not even for one split second, believe that writers are noble selfless creatures. No. Writers are similar to ancient Greek warriors. Warriors, like Homer's Achilles, who fought and hoped their blood stained battles would be significant enough to make their names immortal, we write and secretly hope that our words are seemingly profound enough to live on forever. Trojan battlefields are akin to the now blinking digital replicas of bleach white paper once so precious. Words are simply the writer's camouflage; the novice sees literature as the portal into the souls of wordsmiths or the doors to an adventure. In truth writers are like the rich people who bid at auctions where the proceeds go to charity. They still win a shiny new schooner to play with off the coast of some stolen secluded beach while they drink champagne and eat forkfuls of baby cows. Don't be fooled. There is no such thing as a completely selfless act, especially if it can get you laid.

So again, what have I to teach? What lesson and what style can I produce that will beguile a reader into addicted idolization so that my name will live on into eternity? I am not quite sure yet. I do know that I don't like hangovers, so Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson's styles are out. I am not calm enough yet to believe I can impart some soul binding euphoria to you about the truth of life, and of course I am not yet on my death bed, so life still has some time with me as well. I, like most people, am still searching for my bliss and do not wish to settle for someone else's. But maybe it is the search and the fact that I have not given up yet that will help others to do the same. To find some Joseph Campbellian teachings in their own lives in which they find the myths to hold some truth. I am still fooled by the teachings found in my favorite books and am not yet ready to move past them, but I must in order to find my own voice and path. However, while I am on that beautiful journey to help the world maybe I can woo some readers into thinking I know something. Because, let's face it, authors are professional "story tellers" who seek to bring about an emotional response. So why not selfishly use that method to bring about personal adoration for the time being. I told you this wasn't a completely selfless profession. Didn't you believe me?