Finding myself as a writer

Enough with the linking to pieces already, I know, but one more: this one on Queens of the Stone Age, which I mention solely for the last paragraph. That graf and that whole A Frames piece in its entirety (even if its bibliography was over the top) are who I am as a writer right now, and for the first time in a long time, I'm okay with that. As any writer will testify, the way the whole exercise works is that you are embarrassed by your own output no more than 14 days after finishing it. That part you thought was so funny and interesting when you first wrote it feels dumb and like you're trying too hard by the time it actually hits print. A good writer is constantly evolving, continually spotting his/her own bullshit in an attempt to find his/her voice and — most importantly — some sort of honesty/truth. That's really hard to come by. We're almost always writing in someone else's voice, even if it's an amalgamation of two cereal boxes, one TV commercial, a direct mail coupon book and two volumes of Proust. Everything bleeds, even the stuff we scoff at for poor grammar and worse ideas.

The goal, then, should be to: a) write clearly b) write honestly c) write from a place that is your own. And by that last point I mean from a point of view that draws from your own experiences and prejudices, etc. It's not "write what you know," thank God, but it's something kind of close. Write where you know, or something like that. In those Queens and A Frames pieces — trite shit to be sure — I drew on my own Christian upbringing in both content and tone to gesture toward the weighty texts that I buried myself in as a kid. This isn't to say that these are great pieces or congratulate myself for turning out the 450,000,000,000th record review written this year; it's to say that after who knows how long of trying, I finally managed to write something that felt like me, in a sense, even if it's just a very small part of who I am.

I'm excited by that, of course, but at the same time it's made me wonder why I have this blog. I started it, as I noted in my very first post, to practice writing, to self-promote and to create a self-publication, complete with style guide. And while I've kept up the self-promotion (as the 3,000 "look at what I wrote here" entries and that sidebar can attest), the other two bits have been lost lately. Part of it's a day job whose demands seem to increase daily (Who wants to return to a computer after spending all day being hypnotized by one unless it's for money?) and part of it — not to get melodramatic — is Hunter S. Thompson's death. Reading the amazing amazing amazing amazing Rolling Stone issue about his life made me wonder exactly where I'm heading as a writer, and where it is that I want to end up. And I don't know the answer to that, and I don't expect it will just pop into my head one day, out of the thin blue. But I'm considering it, and trying to sort out how this blog is 'sposed to fit into the whole big mess. I'll let you know when I find out.