Monday, September 19, 2011

Contempt and Ennui Part 1

I've recently wondered about all of this: the teeter-todder of a writer's life. There are several aspects to this, so many more than just an up and down sort of motion. The question of “why?” comes up often in my thoughts. Why write? I ask this because it occurs to me, who cares?
At the onset of this blog I wrote Why I Write. I don't think I've changed since then, nor do I think I've changed at all. Why I write is simply that when I'm writing I lose all contempt and disdain for the world around me. The act and the process and the ritual of writing is akin to what I suspect those who chronically meditate, or habitually masturbate or the compulsive yoga doers must feel when engaged. It's a certain level of bliss mixed with mental occupation topped with physical relaxation. The act of writing for me is, well, what I do to fill the hours. I feel productive, I feel free, I feel like I should.
The second aspect of it is when I'm not writing, which is a significant portion of the day, I suffer from ennui. Ennui. It's bad, I've got a terminal case of it too. When I'm not writing, I'm engaged in paying the bills. I work as a waiter. As I always say, the difference between writer and waiter is but one letter.
To further belabor this ennui, I must say that I'm bored with it all. I'm bored with the banal banter I hear everyday. I'm bored with the motions, emotions, premonitions and ambitions that plague me in those outside hours. The hours outside of writing. This too adds to the contempt which a hot breeze on the wildfire of the ennui.
I'm at once a prolific and inefficient writer. I use the old low-fi and tactile system of writing. I write in the old style composition notebooks and I use a fountain pen. This takes time, and it's part of the process. Once the first draft is recorded I take even more time to transpose it to the word processor. That first step is a time waster for sure. I've known writers who work directly on the a computer. For me, doing that, well, I don't. I think of the pen and paper method as foreplay, and when it comes to that I want to make it last all night.
Yet, I've said I'm a prolific writer. I still crank out fifty-plus polished pages each week. I write novels, I write short stories, and in recent months, I've been compiling writing into chapter books.
I'm blessed with time. That's all that it is too. Time.
I have a work ethic. I have a process. I have a strict schedule. This all makes for the prolific nature of my life as a writer. The time is big. It's the large portion of the process. I can get upwards of six to eight hours a day, everyday. That's not a bad way of combating the contempt. It's not a bad way to deal with the ennui. When we change the “r” to the “a” it doesn't sting so bad to be a waiter.

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