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The Writing Grindstone

I’m so sick of writing, sometimes.

That’s why I’ve quit so many times. Even as I read that last sentence, the fact that the word “sometimes” and “times” were so closely used together irritates me, and I had to fight the urge to go back and change it—not because there’s not a better way to say what I was trying to, but because I have to balance out trying to write cleverly, succinctly, and deeply with the stream-of-consciousness type stuff that helps me get whatever it is I’m trying to say out of my system to begin with.

I used to play bass every day after school. I’d practice from four in the afternoon to nine, sometimes ten o’clock. Drove my parents crazy. Thing is, I thought I sucked, and I can’t play bass very well these days. I’m now entirely out of practice.

But back then, I had a sort of following of people that thought that I was pretty badass. It started like this: “I think I suck, I’m going to play really hard, and even though I do practice a lot, I still think I suck.” But after all those hours of practice, I got out in front of people one day. Then, it happened. People just stared in amazement. I’d actually even gotten a few phone calls from people I didn’t know, some of them quite a few years older, wanting me to play for them. I didn’t have a car, which really hampered things, but people took me seriously.

And I couldn’t figure out why.

After all these years, I’ve come to accept something: that most things are like that. You put forth the effort. You grind the wheel. You judge yourself. You push yourself. And, occasionally, you even embellish in a few delusions of grandeur. Only, you don’t let yourself get stuck in them, because you’re scared to death of fooling people, and them catching onto you.

So, you go back to the wheel, and back to the wheel, and…eventually, you just become something else without knowing how you did it. You let other people give you a pat on the back, but you never take them seriously because you know better. It’s “where did I fuck up?” And you self-correct.

I don’t like talking about writing often because I think it’s a bit pretentious to do so. But I do think sometimes it’s good to talk about it. Not to gloat, but to critique.

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