True story: This post was supposed to be about procrastination and my first-hand expertise on the subject. It still may end up that way. But the original post had a whole different tone—something about wedding gifts, plane crashes, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band playing on my fire escape (it could happen). And then I chucked it. 778 words go POOF! Well, not chucked it, really, but kinda dropped the ball, or let fate put it off, which is ironic. Or do I mean apropos?
Suffice it to say, that post was weak. (The jury is still out on this one.)
In his book On Writing, which is one of the eight books I’m simultaneously reading, Stephen King wrote that you can write about anything you want “as long as you tell the truth.” On a scale of one to ten, the Authenticity in my shelved post felt like a four—the rest was my trying to be clever or sappy, two things I can do easily (notice “genuineness” isn’t on the list). Sure, some words were true, some thoughts felt real, but, ultimately, it seemed like a lot of noise crammed on a document.
There’s always noise going on, both outside and inside my head. The first comes from living in New York City where you learn to sleep through 3am car alarms; the latter comes from having an overactive brain and a whole lot of emotional baggage—real and imagined. Either noise makes for a restless night. Expectations are pretty noisy. They rattle around in your brain and sound a lot like Yahtzee dice in their plastic cup. Disappointments boom and the concussions rattle your shoulders and sometimes your chest. If you see a person slouching, it’s usually because they’re disappointed about something or someone. Resentment is just a constant hum, like buzzing bees or a window air-conditioner, making it impossible to concentrate on anything else. And let’s not forget those annoying little self-critical bleeps and second-guessing blurts that so easily undo a person. With that kind of racket going on—is it any wonder Truth was hard to hear? Harder to write? I’m not sure if this is any better—I still hear the “ttthhpp ttthhpp ttthhpp” of pressing obligations (writing this post has put them on hold for the moment. Now THAT’S ironic).
So my pledge here is to strive to write truthfully as often as I can. Please don’t confuse that with being maudlin—humor and truth have always been allies in the fight against needless noise. If you’re following me—or if you ARE me—please be patient as I try to cut through all this clatter. Some days I might write well. Sometimes I’ll be funny. Some days I might sound like I’m in Confession. Some days, I’ll suck. And most days I won’t know which one I did.