|the soapbox @ benturner.com|
"Pick Up a Pen and You're a Writer...", an Essay
At least, that's how it is for me. You see, I was under the impression that I was pretty durn good at writing. Lately, after looking back at some old poems and essays, I haven't been so sure.
Okay, so I admit I was a little hypocritical writing an article against love and then becoming infatuated a few weeks later. It's easier to say things when they're not happening to you at that exact moment, you see.
And for awhile, I never had to look at my writing and see how good it was. I guess my work is not really bad -- it's just very shallow, only scratching the surface of whatever issue I try to face. Now I'm viewing my writing and seeing it up close and personal. Man is it horrible.
I scoffed at the people who accused my writings of being too full of one-liners and not being deep enough. Why? Because I'm usually the type of person who writes too much. Now I know that wasn't good material either because I was the guy who sat in the back and wrote a couple more pages than everyone else in the same amount of time. You can write a lot about the morals of Lord of the Flies, trust me.
What brought all this on? As I was saying earlier, I was flirting with Love. Perhaps it's more accurate to say 'to Love'. I'm not sure if she's responded yet. The best way for me to flirt, I thought, was to write something kind of cheesy and romantic. I didn't start out for cheesy, of course, but with many love poems, they turn out cheesy, unless you're some real Cassanova like Shakespeare. I bet my dad (the reincarnated Shakespeare) could write a non-cheesy love letter. Anyway... So I sat down, pondered for a bit, then unintentionally produced some Hallmark card. Reality set in.
I tried writing another letter of a romantic nature, full of compliments and flatteries, and again I was revolted with what spewed out of my head. This is the sort of stuff you sit down at the dinner table and wonder how you're going to get rid of it without eating it.
The sad part is that I write better than a lot of other people. What's better, anyway? Well, in my case, it's developing a free-flowing style that covers all the bases and doesn't skim through some ideas and bloat others up. I write in this sort of terse, rapid-fire style, probably as a result of talking on real-time chat rooms too often. So anyway, most people don't write. They don't even try. They think they're horrible. But you know, if they tried and wrote some stuff, I bet a good number of them would be pretty damn good.
What's better: a bad writer who writes or a good writer who never writes? And if it's a good writer who never writes, do you think that will stop me from writing? Fat chance. I need this little outlet every once in awhile to just write, write, write. It doesn't matter if it turns out well. Somehow, my fidgeting is silenced when I just tap on the keyboard. Before I wrote every weekend, I was a broody S.O.B. who had too much to say. Now I'm more quiet and laid back.
"Well shoot, Ben, why don't you bang your head on the keyboard if all it takes to relieve tension is to touch it?"
So I realize now that my writing isn't up to snuff. I suppose actual effort and maybe some writing courses will improve it. But heck, I'm too lazy to do that!
I've gone through the stages, from denial to acceptance. Now it's time to do damage control. No doubt I'll receive some comments saying I'm too hard on myself and that self-loathing is pathetic and destructive. It's these people who misunderstand me which make maintaining a web page so interesting and educational. Ever wake up to read a compact diatribe on how much your page sucks? It's refreshing. So to all you folks who think I have no self-confidence, you've got it all wrong. I exude self-confidence. So much I can spook people. Even wrote some good responses to those people who think I'm too down on myself. And to all those people who think I'm too arrogant (someone read my autobiography and told me how much humility might help), read the write-up on my personality type. I'm allowed to be a little immodest! Told those people off pretty well in private, too. And the people who think I'm neither too modest or too arrogant, they have me the most figured out of all. The only bad thing about them is I'll never have to read their silly e-mail rants when I groggily log in in the morning.
It's amazing that people can have such radically different views of my personality. I mean, some of my soapbox entries and definitely my autobiography have evoked many of the most entertaining and profound e-mails I've ever received.
Maybe I'm not such a bad writer at all...
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