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Monday, April 16, 2007

The Writer

Who can claim the title "Writer?" It would be nice and easy and all-inclusive to use the title loosely and apply it to anyone who does some form of writing. That's the politically-correct way of going about it. But in reality, how many of us can claim the title of writer? I write a blog. I write an exceedingly large number of "observations" journals. I write personal essays that I post (notice the avoidance of the word "publish") on my personal website. I write fiction for personal enjoyment. Do all of these things make me a Writer? The key here is really between creative production and harsh reality. Perhaps making some distinctions would help. A published author/writer is someone who makes a living off their writing. An unpublished author/writer is someone who writes everyday and perhaps has a desire to see her/his work printed and bounded and mass marketed. Is there such a thing as the writer who has no desire to see himself/herself published? There's a lot to say about "Ars Gratia Artis," and I am sure there are plenty of people doing this out there. Nevertheless, this is all starting to sound a bit confusing. Let me clarify. There's a thin line between writing, publishing, and posing. I was at a bar once and I was eavesdropping on the conversation going on next to me. It was a young man trying to impress a young woman. "Sometimes I spend days on just one sentence," he said dramatically. I thought to myself, "wow, either this man is the next James Joyce, or he is a complete idiot and a poser." But it is not for me to judge. Posers know who they are, and there's no reason (nor is it my position) for me to try and remind them. As I said, my struggle and issues with this go back down a long and winding road. SEE HERE.

Potential writers, aspiring writers, or unpublished writers and the rest are simply another bracket of the economic market. The ever-widening publications on "how to write..." proves just that. Aspiring authors/writers are simply another market bracket. Go to Amazon and type a search for "how to write," or "writing fiction" and see how many hits you'll get. See HERE. And HERE. Troubling, isn't it? Published authors are writing books about how to write because there is a market out there of people who buy these books (myself included). Again, I apologize if I am sounding a bit over the top or condescending. I mainly bring this up because it is a personal struggle for me. I teach writing at an all-girl Catholic college preparatory academy. Teaching writing gives itself to assume that as a teacher of writing I should be a writer myself. Again, the answer proves incredibly problematic... at least to me.

"The God Delusion" is getting to that part where most of the harsh criticism I read about before purchasing the book takes place. Richard Dawkins can be a bully about his position. Funny, he really does sound like those tele-evangelists he seems to criticize so much. But I am postponing the inevitable, and I should finish the book in the next couple of days. It's going to be very nice to start writing about what I am reading again. The situation with my left knee is the same.

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At 2:11 PM, Blogger Lee said...

I'm not a poser, I don't publish except online (and am not sure I even want to), and I certainly can spend an inordinate amount of time on one sentence -- days? No idea, I've never counted. But you don't have to be James Joyce to do that, nor an idiot.


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