Writer’s Perspective

What follows is not advise or information. I don’t like to be told what to do, or to tell people what to do. I do like, on occasion, to be told what to consider, and toward that end, I offer up perspective from an old fart who began his writing career late in his life, to other old farts that suspect they might be writers too. If it’s helpful, good—if it’s not—get back to writing. If you’re younger than ‘old fart,’ you can listen in too.

Getting started

It’s my belief that everyone is a storyteller, when it’s put in written form—you’re a writer.

First off, like Buddhism, you don’t decide to become a writer, you discover you always were one. This doesn’t mean you don’t need to work hard at the craft, as it takes control of you and the way you confront the world. The decision is whether to commit to it. Once you do, think of yourself as a writer. List it as your occupation.

Next thing, don’t put arbitrary rules and constraints on it. Like I’m a writer if I do X… No, you’re a writer, and deport yourself that way.

Then, put pen to paper, fingers to key board. You don’t even have to have something to say, just that you want to say something. And don’t write much before you find an editor. It’s been my experience that you can’t edit your own stuff, at least not very well. If words are important to you, and they don’t have to be to tell a story, try to get a poet as your editor. This is the most important perspective I have to share.

Before too long, as Brother Vonnegut has said, write out a list of what you care about, take some time and effort to do this—you’ll be surprised at what you’ll put down, and surprised at how much comes out of it.

This is enough for now. More to come later.

Nostradamus on the Corner

This is not as the title might suggest, a place for prediction, only a place to shout-out to the future. In the past, I’ve not been much at prognostication, but I’m hell at raging. That’s what this section is, a place to shout-out, a place for both outrage and civility. Like an old-time newsy hawking a tabloid of yellow journalism from a corner stand. A place for you to join me in outrage.

I’ll begin with one leveled at cable journalists: Don’t complain about the hard right’s lack of action or attention to gun violence, unless you use specific names. In his 1970’s book Rules for Radicals (warning: you’ll get a lot of old stuff here), Saul Alinsky said you can’t fight city hall. It’s too big and too general, too many places to shift responsibility. You have to freeze the target, localize it, specify it, identify it. Then it has some teeth. Don’t say congress, but Marjory Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, or don’t say anything at all.