Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Good Fences Make Bad Writers

Recently I was told that I was sitting on a tall, wide fence. Of course, it was in the context of comments I made on the website over at AAYSR. I seriously didn't get it at the time. Me? A fucking fence sitter? I sat with the idea of it for a while. I let it simmer, and bubble, and boil. And then I realized: I am sitting on the fence and I have a fence post uncomfortably wedged in my ass.

I don't know what is wrong with me lately. Well, actually I do. It's just really hard to admit you're a pussy. It's really hard to admit that you're writing is stale and empty and devoid of personality. I'm trying to figure out if I have the figurative balls to be the kind of writer that I need to be. Am I brave enough to put down the shit that is really in my head? Can I get down off the fence and explore the fucked up shit that festers in my skull, the questions, the bitter and broken dreams. The truth. Does anybody really tell the truth anymore?

Fuck it all. I'm a black hole. Maybe there's nothing left to say. And even if there was, is it even worth the risk of exposing myself even more than I already have? I think about the nude pictures of me possibly floating around somewhere on the internet. Pictures I sent to some guy back when I was a damn fool, but hotter than I realized. Do I worry about them? Not as much as I should. Like I said, I was hot. Who cares if some guy is jacking off to them in some skeevy apartment? Ok. I do a little bit. But why does it matter? I'm not that girl anymore. Or am I? Isn't what I do here the same thing but without the titty show?

I'm sick of not committing to this work. And you can laugh at that and mock it and say, "Girl, you're not even getting paid to do this shit." And I'll still say it's work because it's hard and it takes its toll and it wakes me up to jot something down on paper and it stays in my head - the words, the language. How I craft it and manipulate it and mold it. If that isn't work than I don't know what is. I want to get back to that place where I hit, "Publish Post" and gasp, "Should I really have posted that?" That would be me exiting the proverbial fence and finally telling the stories I need to tell, the real ones that might hurt me to talk about, that might confound others or offend them. I can't create anything beautiful if I lie. And sad as it sounds, I don't have anything else to offer but my stories, raw and unfiltered.


  1. Yes, Gwen, you are being a superpussy. And no more digging for compliments. If you weren't a fucking good writer, much less an interesting human being, half of your readers would leave.

    I don't find anything you write offensive. The only person that is worried about you opening up is you. The rest of us are just happily blown away at your bright, verbose honesty.

    So write away. Get off the goddamn fence. Write about whatever you want. If you don't want to write about something? Then don't. Punch and pie.

  2. Ok first Rassles had me falling out of my chair with giggles, superpussy? fishing for compliments? Good stuff. I htink when you are writing with no readers it's for you and if you are good(which you are) it is good. Then people coe and read you, because you're good and then you start to wonder if you're good enough and what that means. Then you write one or two really good things and think everything has to be that good(which it doesn't). Most of the decent and prolific writers say write, write, write. Some of it will be subpar, some ok and some great. But you cannot get to the greatness if you don't allow yourself to look like an idiot once in awhile. Now of course, I have to tell myself these same things all the time but you know, progress not perfection right? We like you Gwen, we really like you, now go write something .

  3. I agree.
    It's the honesty that's addicting.

  4. Seriously, superpussy. That's what I was getting at. I think people always assume everything I say comes from a hateful place. Not true. This is a great example of it. I want people to look at themselves the same way I look at myself. If it helps, carry a mirror around with you. Seriously. Do it. I make an ass out of myself on a regular basis. Remember the Mia fiasco? Can't win em all. But I stand behind what I write. You should too. And you will.

  5. Rassles - Tough love. I like it. Apparently I need it, too, because I've been in a fucking writing rut these days. Maybe subconsciously I was fishing, but I promise it wasn't intentional. Thanks for the kick in the ass and the accompanying compliments. I heart you too!

    Formerly Fun - You got it so right there. I didn't even realize what the issue was. Perhaps it's the audience that I never had before. It's turning me into a "superpussy" (will I ever live that down?). It's like I have this fear that everything I've written before was a fluke and that I'm a talentless hack in actuality. Thanks for pointing out how irrational that thought process is. I know that everything I write won't be brilliant or even good. As Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, "I never promised the universe that I would write brilliantly - I only promised the universe that I would write." You're so right about the need to be willing to look like an idiot to achieve greatness. I'm really not afraid to look foolish. I'm used to it by now.

    G. - Thanks. Honesty is a real challenge especially since I'm not an anonymous blogger. But I'm to a point where I want to just own who I am and my experiences. It's like being emotionally naked all the time. Not easy, but important if I'm going to grow as a writer I think.

    Gok - I don't think you're a hateful person. I can handle criticism, usually, like a big girl. I thank you for making that comment. As for carrying a mirror around - maybe after I've lost 15 pounds :) And I know I'm going to piss people off if I'm honest. That's upsetting to me but it's something I know I need to just get the fuck over already.

  6. Gwen, As you can see, you have your fans. It's not because every word is's because we're interested in what you have to say. So what if you say it better some days than others. Some days I'm funny. Some days I'm not. Don't angst over it. Not every post has to be deep and meaningful. But it does have to be real. So quit worrying about it. Nobody is grading you.

  7. Aaaaand, it's all over by the time I get here. Because once you've been called a superpussy, what else is there?

    I read you. I'm going to keep reading. And the only way I'll stop is if you fuck up heinously. Like, by posting a bunch of trite shit. Because that's my gig, baby.

  8. I kind of hate that THAT comment made you think that long and hard.

    But whatever it is, thinking long and hard is never a bad thing.

  9. I never saw you as a fence sitter, for what it's worth. For all out gutsy blogging, you are there, already, in my book.

  10. Gwen I love your comment about owning yourself because that's how I feel and why I don't blog anonymously(though I don't judge people who do or want to). Because my family reads my blog, there are some things I don't talk about but it's a handful of things that are better meant for a therapist anyway. I don't talk much about fights and issues with hubs not b/c I don't want people to know we have our moments but out of respect to him. Plus, if I want shit between us fixed better to talk to him anyhow. Other than that, I ty to be who I am and anyone who has a problem wit it can fuck off. My mom was initially very uncomfortable with the fact that I talk about my depression very openly. Now, two members of my family have sought counseling because knowing I did made it seem a little more ok(I am considered the "together" one). I also get a little less shit from everyone because they know if it bothers me I'm blogging it. Ha.

  11. I'm new here, so I can't really offer an insightful answer. I can just say that I've so far enjoyed what you've had to say and how you've said it. And I'd also like to point out that "real" doesn't have to = negative. I'm looking forward to seeing where you go from here. :)