Excite Me, Baby

“Somebody’s got too much time on his hands.”

That was one of the first comments I got after I launched this endeavor. I was a little stabbed by that; was this person hinting I’m lazy, not pursuing my full-time gig with the zest I should? (Actually that is true, on both counts, but that’s beside the point.)  Or was there a suggestion that I could be doing something more worthwhile with whatever free time I have, rather than stroking myself off with a blog?

But here’s the thing: Once I decided to start this –  even after years of finding myself thinking from time to time, “Man, somebody’s got too much time on their hands, if they’re writing/reading Blog X” –  I was energized. And when a writer, I suppose any creative person, hits a wall, whatever gets you going again is a blessed thing.

I’ve read so many writing books over the years, from the Buddhist-inspired works of Natalie Goldberg to more nuts-and-bolts how-tos on screenwriting, comedy writing, playwriting, etc. I get excited for a bit, then fall into my routine of writing precious little, outside the hack work that has kept me fed and housed the last 14 years.

Best seller!

Best seller!

Deeply profound!

And that writing, whatever its value in educating our fine youth about geography and history, is not what I really want to do anymore.

(Especially as I write about the same topics over and over again – “Another book on the Twelfth Amendment? Sure!” – and struggle to be as objective and truthful as I can in the face of having to meet certain expectation regarding what you can and cannot say about U.S. racism, imperialism, corruption, presidents with swinging dicks, and other touchy topics. And obviously not objective enough for one publisher who bellowed that my biography of President Dubya was liberal trash and called for  someone else to come in, a good conservative, and write the real story, goddamnit.)

For the first time in ages, certainly since I started the solo show about 18 months ago, I have found something that feeds my creative impulse. OK, so half-baked political rantings and self-absorbed musings are not all that creative. But they require me to think, sort out thoughts and emotions, string words together in ways I can’t when writing biographies of…lesser presidents. And it really doesn’t take that much time, if you ignore the hours spent trying to figure out the technical side of this – adding links and pictures, or dabbling with HTML to add a little more zing, then giving up in frustration.

I’ve always been a good pre-writer: working things out in my head while doing mundane chores. Vacuuming is the best. That’s when I perfected this knack, on all those Saturday mornings cleaning offices with my dad. So, when it comes time to hit the keys, most of the hard stuff is already done. Doing this blog has barely cut into those precious hours of watching the Red Sox and wondering what the hell we’re going to do when we get to Connecticut next year. It’s almost made me forget about the crisis, even as I immerse myself in aspects of it so I can get it all down on paper. Yes, writing-as-therapy can be a powerful drug. But I won’t be turning in the lorazepam anytime soon.

I know I can’t keep up the pace of writing this many posts every week. And I’m sure none of you reading this – both of you – will mind fewer and shorter entries. But when writing gets fun again, after too many months of it being something to dread – bonus.

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~ by mburgan on September 22, 2008.

2 Responses to “Excite Me, Baby”

  1. Hey – I know exactly what you mean! I find that my blogging somehow fuels the creative fires, which sort of balances out the time actually taken from noveling and querying and all that stuff. Loved your post – I’ll be back to check in from time to time.

  2. Glad this had some relevance for you, and thanks for the kind words. And nice to know someone besides my family is reading this!

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