How provoking! This website wants me to compose a tagline, thus: “In a few words, tell us what this page is about.”
Look, mate — if I knew what the frigging page was about already, I wouldn’t need to write it, now would I? Bloody cheek!
All right; most of you who are reading this probably don’t have a clue what that’s supposed to mean, why that simple little request has me spitting. Let me explain.
(No; ees too much — let me sum up.)
So some people write the way they bake a soufflé — that is to say, they have this detailed recipe full of nine-sixteenths of a teaspoon of this and a quarter turn of that followed by forty-seven minutes precisely at two hundred and fourteen degrees, and at the end of the process they turn out a culinary masterpiece (or a deflated hockey puck; nobody’s perfect). The literary version of the masterpiece, of course, involves research, outlines, notecards for plot points, an index of characters, and a 447-word-per-day writing quota.
But there’s other people who, instead, write the way they bake a soufflé. These are the ones who just mix up the milk and eggs until they seem right, toss it into the oven while they read a chapter and a half, yank it out and presto! Perfect! Or not, of course; the cooking’s the fun part.
(Yes, I know we just baked two soufflés. It’s a metaphor. Work with me, people.)
Well, that’s the way I write, or at least it is when I write my best. And why not? It’s fun, it’s interesting — fascinating, truth be told, because I get to experience it the way everyone else does, which is to say I get to find out what’s going on while it’s happening. Kinda like life, only safer. Mostly.
What this means, though, is that once I’ve figured out what it’s all about, the actual writing part of it becomes more of a chore — almost hard work, in fact, which is the precise opposite of what it’s supposed to be. Still, there’s some part of me that wants to make sure I earn my day’s wage with a day’s work, and it’s oddly satisfying to finish something that was somehow harder than it probably had to be. It’s no triumph to fall out of bed, but standing straight and talking in full sentences thirty seconds after waking — now that, friends, is an accomplishment, damn it.
So I don’t really know what this page is going to be about. I know now what it already contains — this rambling rant (Is ‘monotribe’ a word? Hmf. It is now.) monotribe about how narked I am to be instructed to cough up the answer before the question gets asked. It’s probably going to gain two or three other bits that I wrote long ago and of which I’m quite unjustifiably proud, and the purpose will be to showcase my work when people ask me for a website. (No sense throwing away a perfectly good ‘in’.)
But is that all? Well, I hope it’ll also work as a fun semi-public sandbox, but that’s for now. Hard to say what this might not eventually turn into down the road. And (at the risk of Stephen King condemning me to Writer’s Purgatory) at the end of the day it’ll probably turn out much better that I don’t know in advance.
So I’ll settle for a “few words” that actually say nothing, preferably in a witty way because to do otherwise would bore me. Bore you too, which is less important to my productivity but a deadly sin if I want you to read.
Which I do, you know. That’s why I asked you here in the first place.
Welcome to my sandbox. Be nice. Share the toys.
NOTES: Literary references are to “The Princess Bride” and Steve King’s “On Writing”. If you didn’t catch either, you need to read more. You probably need to read more anyway; don’t feel bad — so do I. Cheers!