Bad Blogger

Yup, me and Harv, we got it bad.

Yup, me and Harv, we got it bad.

Ok, so I’m not as corrupt and depraved as Harvey Keitel in the film to which I’m alluding (and which, for one friend and me, spawned a never-ending string of supposed sequels. This began when we met on a cruise, so of course the first one was Bad Cabin Steward. I don’t recall what his sins might be. Gleefully ignoring the calls for room service? Shaping the nightly bedside sculpture into crude genitalia? Chocolate laxatives on the pillow?).

Face it, I’m just a lazy shit.

All right, that’s a tad harsh, I know. I have some legitimate excuses – the move, the settling in, work. But underneath all that, there is something more disturbing: I just haven’t felt like writing. I’ve cranked out the requisite number of words per day for the  paying gig, which remains unsatisfactory on many levels, but when it comes time to write for the Crisis? Nada.

That’s not to say there are no ongoing crises coalescing to create the big Crisis. The adjustment to the move is still ongoing and not always pleasant (though to be fair, and as I said in the last post, I have found positives here). There are the always-present chronic pains. And for some reason, a growing sense of self-loathing, fueled in part by not writing. So not writing creates despair that leads to more not-writing. Isn’t that tidy.

I do have thoughts for less-personal posts, a return to the ruminations on politics and culture and even sports (seeing the Red Sox  swoon on a daily basis is bound to spark a few choice words…) that I did back in Chicago. But when I have the time to write, I…don’t. And let’s not even talk about the playwriting. That is part of the creative angst, I know. Ideas flow, old ones, new ones, yet I do not make the effort to put anything on paper. Part of me thinks that if I took the time, even just  a few hours on one day, I would remember what it is about the playwriting process, that shaping of character and their worlds through their words, that has so excited me for more than 20 years. But more and more, another part of me thinks it’s a huge joke. Who am I fooling. I have the basics of my craft down, can stir the random laugh or two in an audience, but I cannot create lasting work of any meaning.

I never know, when these moods hit, if I’m experiencing the kind of self-questioning so inherent in any creative pursuit, and which I assume afflicts all but the most egotistical artists. Or am I finally hitting the Wall, the Wall of Reality on which is scribbled, in large graffiti, “You really do suck. Stop wasting your time. Stop punishing others with your drivel.”

I imagine my life without playwriting. It’s not hard. It would be like my life the last few weeks. I do my daily routine for work, I cook dinner, I have a few beers, I watch the Red Sox, I go to bed. Weekends include  some household chores, maybe a night out. Oh, and of course a few hours spent sending out the mediocre plays I’ve already written, hoping through the strangling haze of self-doubt that maybe someone will finally see my work has worth. The Big Break! That never comes.

(That routine, I realize as I recount it, is hauntingly similar to the one my character Mac describes in my great unproduced opus, Mayor Mac. [Except for sending out the plays.] Which goes to show how art imitates life, or vice versa. Or that I really have no imagination and can only dress up my own pathetic existence, populate it with fictional characters, and call it drama.)

I know this is a passing mood. Perhaps made more powerful by the lingering disappointment over the move. I tell myself, I can’t write in this less stimulating environment. Look at how productive I was in Chicago. Which is true. I did write a lot. But I started my playwriting here in CT, had some of those works staged, and I can do it again. And let’s be honest: None of the Chicago works have exactly gone on to have long, fruitful runs, hmm? No, location is an excuse. (“If you cannot find the truth where you are now, you will never find it” – Dogen) Daily demands are an excuse. Angst is an excuse. If I still want to write, I just have to do it. And despite what I sometimes think and feel, I do want to write. And not just blogs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (god, I hate Seinfeld references, but the connection between self-pleasuring and blogging is just too real).

I don’t remember exactly how Bad Lieutenant ends. Not too well for ol’ Harvey, I think. He slips into hallucinations, yes? But he wants to redeem himself. This bad writer has not yet tiptoed into insanity. Actually, in some ways, I’m probably saner now than at any time in the six months before the move. Must be the stabilizing effect of home ownership. Ha ha. Although that could be self-delusion talking, And redemption? I don’t even know what that is, as a writer. As a person. But maybe actually putting some words to paper some time will be a start.

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~ by mburgan on July 23, 2009.

2 Responses to “Bad Blogger”

  1. Just now catching up on the blogs… The Seinfeld reference is actually about being gay, not about “self-pleasuring.” Not sure if there’s still a connection there (between blogging and being gay?) Hmmm…

  2. I actually knew that about Seinfeld; just spaced, I guess.

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