Writing About Writing

Is as boring as making a film about film making or reciting poetry about reciting poetry. It is the classic stuff for people who have word processors but no words to process. Think of a story teller who gathers an audience but then doesn’t tell a story.

It’s not just the literary who do this – no end of photographers use their cameras to take pictures of other cameras. This is understandable if you are trying to sell these devices – after all that is what I do in a commercial column five days a week. It becomes tedious if you are just expressing your desire to operate and camera by focusing on the rest of your equipment.

You can also liken it to the Sunday driver who travels slowly to the beach and then slowly back again without getting out in the meantime. ” Just seeing how far it was. ” is their classic excuse, but the sad fact is they had no business at the beach nor on the road to and from it. Possibly no business at home, either.

It is the equivalent to eating plastic packaging beads that look like breakfast cereal. Admittedly they have more actual nutrition than the average packaged cereal and don’t make unattractive noises when you pour the milk on…but the idea lacks some sort of cultural validity.

As I have said in my model airplane column ( yes, I write one daily at :

littleworld678590491.wordpress.com

and you are welcome to read it and see what I have said about you…) if you are going to build a model, build a model all the time. Every subassembly should be a faithful evocation of the original, or whatever you conceive it to be. A modeller should not just cut and glue plastic for the feel of the thing – there must be an end in sight.

Likewise if you are writing or photographing. Do it to tell a story to someone who will read it through. Shoot the picture to show beauty or ugliness. Do it well if you can – poorly if you must – but do it to a purpose. Do not drive slowly down a printed screen or sheet of paper just to see how far it is to the end. Get out and do something when you get there.

Do You High Five The Computer?

No. I point at it and yell ” Bumpah ! ” when I finish writing a knockout column.

Then I put it in the draft section and let it sit for at least a couple of days before I re-read it. If it is still ” Bumpah! ” I can post it. The two days lets me see the typos, and introduces a certain degree of calm into the thing. It also means that sometimes the exclamation is changed to”

” Trasho! ”

Thanks to Mr. W. Rogers, I am taking more of the opportunities to shut up that are presented to me. I hope silence will smooth relations with people in the future and serve as an elegant setting to the occasional flash of diamond-like wit.

Would that world leaders who resort to the mobile phone keypad whenever stressed to send out tweets were as cautious. It might prevent a great deal of angst in the rest of us.

Share A Lie…

Share propaganda. Share racist diatribes. Share bigotry. Share innuendo. Share abuse and bullying. Share political pressure.

Or don’t. Your choice.

The daily round of social media brings a waste-paper basket full of this sort of thing. People with a political, social, or religious opinion will batten upon something – a meme, a rant, a scurrilously defamatory article – and ” share ” it to others in their social circle. Some do it every day – some when a national event occurs. There is one common theme with all the posts; the poster wants to get way with their abuse – diatribe, bigotry, whine, or whatever – scot-free. They are merely ” sharing ” someone else’s concoction. If they are proved right you should have agreed with them and if they are proved wrong it was someone else’s fault.

Well, no. When you try to slap something unsavoury upon your friends, you are the last person to touch it, and the dung clings to you as much as it does to the disgusting object. Same thing with your social media posts. Those shitty fingers are at the ends of your own sleeves.

If you want to be honest with friends, you can still press them with political and social opinions, but you need to do it in your own words. You write, not share. If you write right, they’ll read. If you write shite, they won’t.

Take responsibility for your own material.

Shopping For A War – Part Four – Sex

Are you in favour of sex?

Do you have one? Do you have several? Are any of them for sale? Do you give receipts?

The topic of sex, however it is raised, is bound to cause attention, ire, and desire to lecture on the part of nearly every reader. From those who refuse to consider the topic to those who refuse to stop talking about it, the entire social site circle is involved.

For the record, I am generally in favour of sex. I have never actually been able to set a record, however, but it is nice reading about those who have. The illustrated accounts are the most interesting…

If you write about THE TOPIC you must choose early whether you are going to be explicit, implicit, or illict. All three approaches work, but if you change you in the middle of a post people become confused. A Tut Tut turning into a Toot Toot never looks good. And please refrain from sending Toot Toot pics through the email system. You never know who isn’t looking.

Most sex readers will respond well to a few salacious words. This was the secret to success for the old British radio show ” I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again ” when either Kenneth Horne or Kenneth Williams used words like ” nadger ”  and ” gruntfuttock “. They were innocent enough but sounded dirty and that was what we wanted. If you can develop words or phrases that eventually act as salacious triggers you’re well away. Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink. Know what I mean? Eh, eh?*

Say no more.

Final note: If you are a woman you can spark delight from other women with any posting that decries or belittles men, and get away with it scot-free. Today’s social media supports this entirely.

What is not realised is that there are places and sites on the internet that reverse this culture of scorn quite effectively and with a good deal of devastating humour…but the outraged and virtuous female social warriors are not granted access…

*  I have no idea what I mean.

 

My Hobby, Sir, Is Below…

No, not that far down. That’s a different hobby. Stop staring.

My hobby is what you are reading right now. I write now.  I write four weblog columns each weekday and three on the weekends. I get paid money to pen one of them and the other three pay in joy.

I did not realise this was going to be the case when my friend Joanne suggested over a café breakfast that I look up WordPress. She, like many young people, is somewhat of an expert on the social media and connection side of things. But she doesn’t make the technical side of things sound as hard and confusing. Nor was it, once I had picked up a couple of simplistic books on the WordPress blog experience.

My first efforts were crude – like my first engagement with Facebook – but gradually the business of telling a story ( and that is all I am doing when I write ) started to flow and it has gushed ever since. I’m a photographer with my own studio so I can make pictures to enliven the print and as much as the graphic designers amongst my readers may quail, I can dot them with words. Generally the words I choose try to be funny. Sometimes they succeed, but only sometimes…

So I finally have to admit I like engaging you in this one-sided conversation – I look upon it as a Catskill monologue. Hence the title of this first weblog column. I’m here all week – try the pasta surprise.

The chef was absolutely surprised. He was aiming for bacon smoothies.

 

Author Trees

The author tree is not exactly a distinct botanic species. Author trees can be Elm, Maple, Oak, or any large deciduous variety. In tropic and hot climates Palms and Baobab trees have been very successful author trees. Pine and Fir are less common, though the Giant Redwood of California would be very suitable, if a little deadly.

You see an author tree is a tree which the author of a book that is not selling well will use as a marketing tool. He packs a bag with copies of his book, climbs up the tree, and shinnies out on a limb that hangs over the sidewalk.

When a suitable victim walks under the tree the author drops the book on their head and then pops back into the foliage. The person below suffers a surprising blow on the head and then looks around to see who threw a book at them. Very few ever look up. Then they pick it up and see what it is. In most cases they will start to read it…and if the author has been careful the start it put with a zinger like a murder or a girl taking her clothes off, chances are the sore head will wander off reading the book.

Another fan.

It was not a marketing strategy without risk. Pamphleteers and writers of short stories bombarded the populace with no qualms; their writings were lightweight and safe to drop. Others, like Tolstoy or Zola, caused fractured necks and worse. This explains many of the periods in their lives when they took rapid vacations into the provinces.

Of course you have to make some sacrifices for your art, but these days sacrificing strangers is not viewed well by the authorities. Philistines to a man.

Does It Bother Me…?

Does it bother me that so few of the posts on this weblog column go viral – that so few phone calls come through inviting me to the White House or Buckingham Palace? Do I gnaw my vitals and weep into the pillow at being in relative obscurity?

Not a bit. Everything I’ve ever written has been read by someone – even if it was only me. And in reading it, they and I have gained something. Unlike the writer of a newspaper column, my words have not been wadded up and used to clean windows or wipe bums. These thoughts all come out on the computer or mobile phone screen. Try wiping with that, Wilbur.

Sometime these things ring a literary or social bell and I hear it reverberating. Sometimes they fall on deaf ears. Sometimes I deliberately avoid posting copies them onto Facebook because I fear that they will cause offence. Sometimes I post away with just that intent.

In all cases the act of writing the weblog column has kept my mind active and allowed me to order the universe to my satisfaction. It goes awry a moment later, of course, but for a brief period it is correct. I live for those moments.