Thursday, October 21, 2010

Confessions of a Writing Slut

If you ever meet a female writer who is absolutely potty -- obsessively and compulsively drawn to the keyboard for protracted periods with resultant accompanying groans, screams, shrieks, sighs, sobs, tears, teeth grinding or gnashing -- back away!! 

She's a writing slut. 

Not only will she throw mugs, ashtrays or the bloody cat at you if things aren't going well, she'll snarl and threaten to blare Disco Duck on YouTube.

Then, she'll tell you, you are less than zero -- which, she emphasizes, you really are -- and finally, she'll turn the verbal gun on herself until she either passes out from 

a) stress
b) alcohol or drugs
c) typing too many useless adjectives
d) typing too many useless adverbs
e) too much tell and not enough show
f) the stench of excessive backstory
g) the realization she has no talent at all

or...(drum roll)

the phone rings and it's the Man Booker Committee or the Nobel Foundation in Sweden assuring her they have heard so much advance buzz about her as-yet-incomplete manuscript, they have already decided to short list her when the book comes out.

or...(quick intervention)

The doorbell rings and she's staring into her future - the man from the Old Spice commercials, sans towel, is offering her a pound of Leonidas Belgian Chocolates with all her favourite centres, Cristal Champagne, a box of ultra-soft Kleenex, all the while kissing her bleeding fingertips and murmuring, "Oh, but you're lovely, never, ever change, keep that breathless charm, won't you please arrange it 'cause I love you just the way you write tonight!" **

**With apologies to Jerome Kern.

Only slightly mollified (he does look good), she will calm down and think it over.
Maybe the opening paragraph can go. Maybe, the plot doesn't really suck, maybe she can write a little better than "See Dick run. See Spot go. Look, Sally, look!"

Maybe there's a faint hope in Hell.

Maybe the cat is a sweetie.
Maybe you aren't less than zero after all, but don't press your luck, she's still fragile.

Curtain falls on another day followed by the next morning.

Then, it's lather, rinse and repeat. She won't even take time for a shower -- she has to sit down with her coffee and her Advil and begin all over again....


I have done some research into the word slut which is all too often used as a synonym for nymphomaniac, a condition terribly riddled with non-factual moral observations. People think it's about uncontrollable sex urges. It's more than that. The classic nymphomaniac very often goes from partner to partner in search of the Big O. Until she finds it, she's a horny dudette, filled with fantasies and urges and unrequited longings. Poor thing doesn't realize that the Big O has to begin and end with her -- she's in control, and a man will want to please her any way he can -- but she has to tell him how, for goodness' sake!
The writing slut is also searching for that ultimate release, that pure joy, that witty beast with two backs that reads to perfection from any and all angles.
The only difference between her and her nymphomaniac sister, is that she already knows she can't hope for any external massaging.

Sex starts in the brain. Writing starts in the brain. And, many people weep after sex (triste post coitum). So, too does the writer after the book is published.

It sits on the coffee table or bookshelf, the writer quickly grows sick of it, hates it, and has moved on a long time ago to something else. And who really cares, hmm? You are only as good as your last book, you may not have anything left to give, it's just as hard to write today as last year, and the damn backstory is still there, and why haven't you learned the lesson about "killing your darlings" and you hate, hate, hate this new stuff and have no talent whatsoever and ---

I am a writing slut.

7 comments:

  1. Giggle! I too *sob* am a writing slut.

    Now, when is the Man Booker committee scheduled to call? I just want to make sure it doesn't clash with the time I've set for the Old Spice guy to come over...

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  2. You're good to go with Old Spice guy, I think the Booker committee is on hiatus for the next few months.

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  3. Jack,

    Well, male writers go through similar crap, I would suppose, but there is no language equivalent that I know of for a male slut, save man-whore slang.
    Men, you see, are supposed to be loose, amoral, sexually on the run. Old double standards and all that.

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  4. Arghh! What about when cruising the blog world slut pushes writing slut off the sofa? And the your-writing-sucks slut takes over and dampens all enthusiasm with repeated variations on the theme of "worst first line ever/worst ending ever/worst plot arc ever"?
    Where's Old Spice guy when I need him?

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  5. Ah, I'm just another slut in a long line I see...

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