I went out for beers the other night with an old writer/editor friend (who, incidentally, has always had impeccable taste) and he complimented me on my blog, noting its ostensible honesty, sheer volume and relative craftsmanship. He said that he wished he could do the same.
“How do you do it, Lar?” he asked, after a third Corona.
I was tempted to answer with the famous quote widely attributed to legendary sportswriter Red Smith: “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.”
But instead I said, “I dunno. I’ve just been doing it ever since I was a little boy.”
I wrote my first poem when I was in kindergarten:
The birds fly
High in the sky
Why can’t I?
Fucking genius, right?
Of course, almost every kid in kindergarten wrote this stupid poem but when I did it, my mom had me believing that I would be the next e.e. Cummings.
And thus began my illustrious career as a writer.
The truth is (I know I say that a lot; maybe more for me to believe it than for you), everything I’ve written since then has been nothing more than a desperate plea for my mother’s love. Thanks for nothing, Ma!
It didn’t make a difference if it was slightly-retarded-sounding poems in elementary school or short Raymond Carver-esque stories in college, or personal essays in major magazines or getting lost down the Twitter rabbit hole or even this blog, writing has always been my point of distinction from everybody else, and more importantly, a way to feed an insatiable and unabashedly naked desire to be adored (so make sure to Like this on Facebook and starfuck it on Twitter).
Why I need your approval is obvious: It’s because I’ve always had trouble approving of myself. I’m never happy with anything I’ve written (and edit the shit out of it because I’m perpetually dissatisfied and simply can’t let go) until someone tells me that it’s good and I should be pleased. And even then I assume the person is merely being kind.
Although I’m actively trying to change all that. I’ve written a few things here that I’m actually proud of and that admission alone is progress. On the flip side, my friend Charlie keeps prodding me to stop playing around on this nowhere road and instead focus on the more serious business of writing a memoir. I keep arguing that this blog is serious business (despite my silly jokes), and that I don’t think my life has been nearly interesting enough to warrant its own story.
But if it is, I still see Bill Murray in the title role.