Man vs. Man
Man vs. Wild
Man vs. Food
Man vs. Machine
Man vs. Machete
Man vs. Manfred Mann
Man vs. Mannheim Steamroller
Man vs. Sub-Zero
Man vs. Chorus vs. Chorus Bridge Chorus
Man vs. Religion (i.e., Man vs. Verses)
Man vs. Sub-Zero, Round 2
A character in my second novel is a drug dealer first and apathetic English major second. This is his defense of English majors.
“Any of those scorners I met, those college kids smug in their profitable degree, their law-school futures, their promised employment made like a barter in blood? Fuck ‘em and fuck their sturdy handshake and business etiquette, practiced like masturbation in Senior seminars. Fuck the finance bros and nebbishy nerds hiding out in law schools, waiting out the economy and taping their salaries to their dicks for the weak women who’d give a fuck in either sense. Fuck every engineer and computer science major content with their cubicle and white buttoned shirts, and, lastly, fuck the whole world that praises them and dares call that whimpering cowardice ambition. That’s not ambition- that’s cashing out: that’s conceding to the whims of the world, and it’s that weak collaboration I won’t abide. “It’s a caste” they whine. “What can I do?” I’ll tell you what: the best you can do is to do: that’s the only way you’ll find out, homie: to cherish your insecurity, your “who the fuck knows” life and to try. Anything less is a forfeit. The terms of your surrender was a job and a decent car. Who knew! No, I say, no.
So be an English major if for no other reason than this: it can’t save you. It’s a degree you can’t curl up in for fifty-thousand a year, sucking your thumb in the womb of the middle class. They’ll scorn you for it, mock you for it- what’re you gonna do, write something?- and you’ll be a better man for it. Because without that degree to save you the only thing you’ll have left is you. And the rest of them will never know they could’ve had their freedom too.”
Whenever I see a writer writing about writing, I want to fuck them up.
It’s been done: incessantly, even. It’s a nightmare of cliches that, furthermore, has the added purpose of being self indulgent and easy. You have writers block? So why not write about writing, right? There’s a problem there, though: you need more than a “why not?” to produce something worth reading. A circular, yawning piece about writing doesn’t exactly make the point that your writing’s worth reading.
Similarly, if anything is meta, forget it. I don’t want to read your self-deprecation, either. Come on, son. Cheer up, but if you don’t, escape it elsewhere. The self is one of the less interesting topics you can tackle directly. The self is a hell of a self insert.
Write about other stuff: if you need a prompt, take this one: a guy gets a surprisingly good sandwich. Not an interesting prompt? Make it interesting. There’s infinite room for the piece to breathe beyond the incessant in-breeding of self-reference.
Write something, you asshole.
I’m calling you out. You’re good. I know this as a fact, and don’t you dare pussy-foot around it. You are. You watch the crap on T.V. and read shitty articles and short-stories workshopped in class with nonsense angst and you think, fuck, the world is dumb.
Okay, sure; the world is dumb. Submit something. Forgive your own dumbness. Make it smarter.
Don’t let your ideal vision get in the way of practical truths. Writing can be messy. It won’t be as good as you thought. Doesn’t matter. Finish it, send it. Let someone else tell you it sucks. See it through.
You suck. You’re a terrible writer. Don’t bother. No! Come back you asshole! Don’t buy that. Who is some guy on the internet to tell you that you suck? This goes double for internet commenters, the saddest breed. I get it; they make me feel sad too. But remember The Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons? They’re that.
Don’t pick up on the first excuse to quit. That’s some Psych 101 shit right there.
Write. Let your typos breath. Mix your metaphors like a polish duck, baking a casserole.
You’re not Dave Foster Wallace? Didn’t think so. But you know what they told him? You’re no Kurt Vonnegut. And let’s stop with all this hero worship for great writers. I’m serious. All it does is create a cult of personality that puts great writing in this somehow unattainable sphere, and it dismisses you from even trying, like it’s heresy. I’ll say it; I’m trying to punch David Foster Wallace in the balls. Will I succeed? Hell no. But don’t even act like the Wardine section of Infinite Jest didn’t make you cringe. The greatest work of the greatest author, perhaps the greatest modern work of literature, and some of it is terrible.
I’m not even going to end with a coda about how great David Foster Wallace is. We all know it. To repeat it further is masturbation.
I get it; you don’t want to be that asshole writing some crap in a Starbucks. News flash: the asshole resenting him, safe knowing that his genius will never be tested is a bigger asshole.
Get jealous. I submitted my first piece because a friend of mine got published. I got published three weeks later. Would it help if I told you I’ve made money, money applicable for alcohol and groceries by writing video-game jokes and top-five lists about why chili is tasty? You can do this. I’m the worst. Submit. Take me out. I wrote a novel and submitted it to an agent. It’s awful. How much worse is yours?
This is tough love for my writer friends. If you’re not a writer, um, don’t write I guess. But do whatever your thing is.
- Alexander Greaney Watt
- Method Man Jr.
- Dude Serious
- Nah’s Son
- Mental Challenge
- Young Crazy Bastard
- Restrained Order
My Wu-Tang Names
*Tha Crusty Juggler
*Garfield and Friends
*Old Man Sullivan
*Nimrod Tha Saint
Everyone please follow @RapLunch, my new twitter, for updates on rappers and myself eating lunch together.