Do you see? DO YOU SEE?!!

Heya,

Long time no speak.

About…a month ago I came on and deleted all the blog writing prompt posts where I didn’t actually say anything and got rid of the posts in the queue, because I know I’d be super fucking annoyed if I kept getting writing prompts sent to me on a daily basis (though I know some people would probably pay for that). I then planned on writing a post about how that experiment had failed.

Then I got distracted.

I have a job now. I mean, I had a job when I started this blog, but it wasn’t a show-up-at-an-office five-days-a-week kind of job. It was more of a part-time, fit-it-to-my-schedule kind of job. And my job has been in the process of moving offices for … oh, all summer up to the present. We’ll be on our third workspace in as many months soon.

There have been problems. There has been a lack of office supplies and space to spread all my stuff out in (I like to spread out–it’s a big part of why I always try to be early to … everything. If you’re early, you get first dibs on the available space).

But that’s not what I want to write about today.

I want to write about what I’m working on that isn’t work. As a rule of thumb, I don’t like to talk that much about creative projects. Not out of any sense of proprietorship or anything like that; more because I like to keep things loose and not feel like there’s any kind of structure being imposed on me. I feel like telling people about what I’m working means that I have to do what I tell them. And I don’t like feeling like I have to do things a certain way.

I think there’s also a danger of spending more time talking about the project than actually doing the project, and that as valuable as dialogue is, sometimes you have to just take the leap on faith that you’ll figure it out. Sometimes people introduce problems that make the project seem like something unattainable. And not in a sexy way.

Okay, so

Looming Projects

  • The Quarter: my friend turns twenty-five in the not-too-distant and her apartment is full of empty walls and canvas that she keeps meaning to paint, so I’m painting her a picture of a 1989 Canadian quarter. I was originally just going to paint it, but after a while, that started to seem like something that would only be interesting to look at for a brief span of time. Then I got something in the mail that was packed with a bunch of sheets of cardboard. I’d already painted the background of the painting. So I decided I’d paint the cardboard in varying shades of grey and jigsaw a quarter together out of pieces of cardboard in different tones of grey.
  • The Journal: my other friend is going on a Bedouin adventure across Western America. She has no particular itinerary, she just knows it’s going to be across Western America. She’s going to work on some farm communes along the way. I’m trying to restrain the part of my brain that is saying, “Cult, cult, cult, cult” but it’s hard. I’m trying to set up a weekly Skype date for us, both so that we can keep in touch and so I can subtly check her for signs of brainwashing. I’m only somewhat exaggerating. Oh, the journal! So, I bought a really plain, hardback journal and a road atlas. I’ve scanned a bunch of the maps of the west coast, and I’m in the process of covering the journal with them. So she can write in her journal, and also mark the places she’s been on the cover.
  • Dustwallets: I have inherited a hatred of dustjackets from my dad. When you try to read a hardcover with a dustjacket on it, it gets all bendy and slips off and is just generally a giant nuisance. About a month ago, I was reorganizing my bookshelves and found a cache of dustjackets that I’d stripped off my books. I was going to recycle them, but that seemed wasteful. So I googled paper crafts. One of the things that came up was how to make a wallet out of paper. So I’ve been gradually working through a pile of dustjackets, making them into wallets. Some are more complicated than others – you want certain things to fit on the front and back, certain things to be in the pockets, etc., for the look of the thing, and sometimes the dimensions just don’t work and you have to figure something else out. It is both engaging and kind of mindless. I’ve just started sewing them rather than just taping them together. Fucked my fingers up really bad on the first one. I’d never done enough sewing before to appreciate thimbles. I appreciate them now. That’s an ongoing project. When I have time or I’m feeling the urge, I paw through my pile of dustjackets and make one. I don’t know what to do with them. I’ve give a few away to friends and family members (I’m really proud of how the one I did for California turned out). I’m not entirely sure that it’s better to turn them into wallets if I don’t do anything with the wallets, either…
California by Edan Lepucki

California by Edan Lepucki

  • My Mother Says: This is a play that I’ve been working on for years now, at the behest of a friend of mine. It’s about the internment of Japanese-Canadians during WWII. I’ve done a lot of research into it, but I have a lot of trouble connecting with it. I come at story from a place of character, and I’m struggling to get a grasp on the characters. I also don’t want it to be limited, thematically or in terms of the time it’s dealing with. Because the larger implications are of history repeating itself. The internment is not widely known of, and it’s not the first time the government of Canada has done something like this. If you ignore your mistakes, if you believe you’re above those who came before you, you blind yourself. Everyone likes to think they’re not capable of bowing before that kind of pressure, that kind of fear, but most people have never been put in that position. And you never truly know what you would do in a situation until you’ve faced that situation and acted.
  • Merde Creek Chronicle: Is a graphic novel. It’s an online graphic novel. It’s sort of the inverse of My Mother Says. I feel like I understand the characters and the setting, I have an idea of where everything is leading. I have the URL (and now so do you – there’s one post on there right now. It’s from 2012 and it’s about building an author platform. Holy fuck, it’s almost 2015.) I just don’t know how to execute it. I can draw, but the amount of time it would take me to draw something that I would be satisfied with far outweighs the amount of time that it would take me to write something that I’d be satisfied with. And I’ve always been particularly attracted to the idea of doing really rough sketches, just pencil sketches, the minimum required to get the point across, maybe with some concept/character art on another page that’s had a bit more energy put into it, and letting people fill in the blanks. Use there imagination. That would also let me play with the format a bit more, with the minutiae. Make it part comic, part script, part short story.
  • Kindred (working title): fantasy with some sci-fi, in the Arthur C. Clarke sense. I don’t want to get too into it (commitment issues and all that), but I can say that there’s a civil war, a desert, and genetic engineering/mutation. At present. I’m not entirely sure what’ll get slashed in the end. If I get to the end.

And there’s the rub, really. The juggling. Always the juggling. In some ways the job I’m doing is deeply satisfying, in large part because it is so different from my creative projects. But it does absorb a lot of the energy I’d like to dedicate to these projects. It’s not a matter of finding the time. It’s a matter of finding the energy, both physically and emotionally.

I’ve started doing cardio in the mornings, in part because it’s good for my heart and lungs and anxiety levels, but also because I’ve been told that it raises your energy levels. We’ll see, I guess.

Oh, and in case you missed it, the title of this post is referencing South Park when South Park referenced Silence of the Lambs.

Love,

B

Reading: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (why the fuck is everyone called Petrov(na) or Romanov(na)(vich)? What is Russia?)

Listening: Zaba by Glass Animals

Watching: The Cornetto Trilogy on repeat, because I don’t have the mental capacity for anything more complicated, and I like how they make fun of movie cliches without being dicks about making fun of movie cliches

The Blue Pen Dilemma

Heya,

My pen died today. I use cheap black BIC pens, because every time I get a more expensive one it dies immediately. You know those Seven Year pens? Yeah, mine lasted seven days.

I went to my boss and asked if I could borrow a pen. But, more specifically, I asked if I could borrow a black pen. Because I hate blue pens.

She had to hunt around a bit for a black pen, which made me stop and think about why even the idea of writing with a blue pen was so repellant to me. Why couldn’t I just take one of the four blue pens she had found and go back to work?

Because of those stupid PaperMate erasable blue pens, that why.

My school sold back-to-school kits. I don’t know if this is a common thing or if this was just because I went to an inner city school, but I remember that every year my parents would buy a kit that contained all the school supplies I would need for that year from my primary school. It usually included a pencil case, glue, etc. And I think second grade was the first year that, instead of just pencils, we got pens.

But they weren’t really pens. They were half-assed erasable pens.

I hate doing things by half measures. I’m a “go big or go home” kind of person. I set my goals high, and either accomplish everything or nothing. Which is admittedly not always the best way of doing business, but it’s just how I am.

I hated those blue erasable pens, just like I hated training wheels. Maybe part of it was because they didn’t actually erase very well, so they were this weird, unpleasant thing that straddled the line between pencil and pen.

Whatever it was, it felt like I was almost-but-not-quite being trusted. I could almost be trusted to write in permanent ink, but I wasn’t quite there yet. Blue pen, for me, is childish. But not fun, scented-crayola-crayons childish. Being told to stay out of cupboards childish. “Don’t touch that” childish. “You’re so adorable for trying” childish. I fucking hated those pens. Those pens were condescension.

I don’t know if all of this was apparent to me at the time, but I do know that as soon as the option arrived to pick between black and blue permanent pens, I picked black. And I continue to pick black to this day for anything remotely serious. There was a brief window of time in university where I kept all of my notes in one notebook, when I used a different coloured pen for each subject, but my “to do” list was always written in black ink.

There’s no grand overarching point to this story, I just felt like offering you a glimpse of the neuroses with which I live every day.

Love,

B

Muddled storylines

Heya,

There’s a story that I’ve been working on for quite a while now. I had the idea for it when I was fifteen, actually, and finished a (ridiculously long and convoluted) first draft when I was seventeen. I then put it aside for a while, because I decided that I hated it, and I couldn’t handle taking a scalpel to it. In the interim, my thoughts on it have gone through numerous shifts. I’ve removed characters, I’ve added characters. I’ve changed the geography of the reality the characters operate in. It’s fantasy, so I’ve changed the laws of physics. Ideologies have been born and died. Centuries of history have been written and rewritten. It’s been a long time since it was the story that it once was.

There are three characters that have held on through all of these changes. And I realized the other day, as I was picking up this story again, that part of the trouble I had with starting this story again was that each of these characters had survived so many rewrites and alterations that I couldn’t quite remember what version of them I was working with. I had too much history with them, too many arcs and details that weren’t relevant anymore but were still in my head and noted down places. That part of the trouble that I was having starting up this story again was that I had several versions of these characters in my head, laid atop one another like tracing paper, and that I wasn’t sure who they were anymore.

So I had to do something that I hadn’t done in a while in any dedicated way with these characters. I had to sit and nail down, once again, who exactly these people were. I had to decide what in their history was going to stay in their history, and what had to go, and what those changes made them.

There’s some author who said that a good writer has a finite number of characters in them. That a great writer has … let’s say six. That all the characters in that writers oeuvre are just iterations of those basic character types. The same person, but with different likes and dislikes, different features, but the same manner, the same basic personality, the same structure. Maybe these characters have held in their because I’m not a great writer, and I only have three characters in me. Which is fine. I can do plenty with three characters. But I was just thinking about my favourite writers, especially those with large bodies of work, and I was considering their protagonists, and it occurred to me that a lot of those protagonists feel like one another. Not that they are especially alike in terms of interests or even the reality that they exist within or their position within it, but that they feel alike.

I had an epiphany about the structure of the story today, one of those moments where everything clicks together and makes sense, when all the bits and pieces seem to be in harmony. And a big part of that was going back and revisiting these characters that I had known for year but that I hadn’t … had a talk with in a while.

I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I do believe that you can get stuck, muddled on a part of a story, just like you can get in a rut with any job, and that sometimes finding the solution can seem impossible. Maybe because writers are so invested and labour so long in solitude over their work that we become attached to the idea that we have some monopoly on getting stuck on a problem. There’s such an emotional investment. I was miserable last week, because I had hit this roadblock and couldn’t see around it. I ultimately had to pick a different direction to come at the problem, and that was difficult because it meant going through a lot of old ideas, some that I really liked, and rejecting some of them. Putting them permanently aside. But I did it, and I feel pretty awesome now.

Though I’ll probably be attacked by doubt about the decisions I’ve made sometime in the next few days. But I guess that’s just … you know, being human.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got for you today. How are you? Any epiphanies?

Love,

B

On optimism and boxes

Heya,

I interviewed two amazing artists for Repurposed a while back – Valerie Arntzen and Christina Norberg, in case you’re interested. The profiles themselves will go live when the first issue of the magazine launches.

Anyway, they’re both artists who work with reclaimed and repurposed materials, and talking to them put a point on something I’ve been thinking about/feeling in relation to both repurposed art and art in general.

There’s something wonderfully optimistic about reclaiming, repurposing, upcycling, and whatever other words might be applied to it. The Maker movement, the DIY trend, homesteading, the efforts that people make that counteract decades of advertising us that new is better and planning obsolescence.

I hate the word “millenial” but apparently it’s the word that has been landed on to define my generation. Anyway, I read about how apathetic my generation is (apathy seems to be a common complaint of the older generation about the younger generation, by the way), and it strikes me that, at least for me, it’s not so much being apathetic as being overwhelmed.

We are the future leaders of the world, apparently. And what a world we get to lead. We have global warming, which world powers only periodically seem to give a shit about. We have rampant world hunger. The bees are dying, so there’s the question of pollination and future food supplies. Genetically engineered crops that live only for a year and seed other crops so that they won’t grow again, thereby forcing farmers to purchase seeds every year where previously they had renewed themselves. Numerous other species are on the verge of extinction. Daily, we inhale oxygen that is more and more contaminated with carbon monoxide and other harmful gases than at any other time in history. We’re all over regulation regarding cigarettes, but hybrid/electrical/other cars are still barely a blip on the market despite the rapid exhaustion of natural gas stores in the world. We pollute our groundwater to the point that in various parts of of the world there is no drinkable water that isn’t bottled. And even in countries where the tap water is drinkable, we still buy bottled water rather than drink it.

There’s more, but I’m making myself tired and sad and existentially anxious.

Which is sort of the point of all this.

One of the things that came out of my conversation with the aforementioned artists was this sense of optimism and community. The wonderful thing about reclamation, repurposing, is that it takes things that people don’t think of as valuable and brings out their beauty, tells their story, integrates them and melds them into a new story. Making the story yours.

There’s something attractive about shiny and new. There’s something attractive about a blank slate to work with. But I think there’s also something attractive about the weight and veneer and patina of older things. And we’re rapidly running out of blank slate. Metaphorically, I mean. And physically, sort of. And, as deeply, deeply fucked as the world often seems, so fucked up that it’s hard to know where you would start if you wanted to fix things, it is wonderful whenever you encounter things that show you that not even trash is all trash.

Oh, and a quick thought about boxes, which is the other part of this post. I thought I would find a neat segue in the course of writing this post, but the first part took a turn that I didn’t expect, so I’m just going to switch right over.

Another thing I loved about these discussions with these women was the idea of thinking outside the box, of looking at things and contemplating different uses for them, different purposes, not being constrained by what is or isn’t expected, either of the object or the artist. I think too often artists (be their painters, writers, reclaimers) try to fit themselves into boxes of what they think is appealing, what they think people want, what they think will sell. Especially fledgeling artists. And you can’t succeed, you can’t grow as an artist and a person, if you’re trying to fit in a box.

Love,

B

The artist, drunk, talking about how awesome he is, at a bar

Heya,

I talked the other day about the Lonely Garret Writer, and I mentioned that there was another type of writer that I called the Gregarious Barfly Writer.

First, for the sake of continuity, some definitions (from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online rather than Wikipedia this time, because Wikipedia was less helpful on this one).

Gregarious

a :  tending to associate with others of one’s kind :  social
b :  marked by or indicating a liking for companionship :  sociable
c :  of or relating to a social group
Basically, these are the kind of writers that are chatty and like people. They’re the ones who are good at networking, who are good at self-promotion and have no trouble tweeting. They can talk about their books, love talking about their books. And about running with bulls and fistfights and stuff. They’re the kind of people who think they look good in hats and read a lot of Hemingway.
And there’s anything wrong with any of that.

Barfly

:  a person who spends much time in bars

An explanation of the barfly thing—it’s an extension, a connection to the gregariousness of this kind of writer. It’s something that I’ve noticed from going to writer’s conferences. You don’t have an actual conversation with a writer at a panel or at a signing. You have a conversation with them at the bar afterwards.

You could argue, and rightly so, that drinking is hardly exclusive to the gregarious writers. I know that. LGWs can also be found congregating at the bar after an event (and possibly before an event, just to get some Dutch courage) just as much as GBWs can, but there’s a different tone to it.

Writer

: someone whose work is to write books, poems, stories, etc.

: someone who has written something

This other kind of artist, what it sometimes seems that social media wants all artists to be, is good at doing their work in public. They’re good at talking about themselves and their work. They can discuss their work in progress without angst, existential or otherwise. They have a philanthropic bent that goes along with their gregariousness. They like to write in coffee shops. They liked to be asked about what they’re writing in coffee shops. Usually.
They can post a chapter of their work online, get a tepid response, and take it in stride. They can rework, or put aside, what they’re working on based upon audience response. Their skin is thicker, or else they’re not as … enmeshed. Committed. I don’t know. I don’t understand them as well, not being one of them.
Not really.
I reiterate that I think that no writer, no artist, is completely LGW or GBW, and that there is often a great deal of crossover. I can and often do talk to anyone about anything. But when it comes to my writing, I’m a bit more hesitant, a bit more uncomfortable. I feel a bit more like I’m revealing fragile secrets, that I’m going to break my story by talking about it.
Maybe GBWs just understand instinctively that they can’t do that.
Anyway…
Symmetry!
Love,
B

The benefits of regularity

Heya,

This is not going to be a post about incontinence.

At least, I don’t think it will be.

It probably won’t be.

I’ve talked before about forming habits. I’m not good at forming good ones, but I’m trying to change that.

It’s been difficult lately to form new habits because of the demands that school makes of me, but at the same time I know that to be a giant fucking cop-out. Life makes demands of you. It will demand, and take, as much of your time as you let it, so you’ve got to be as much of a dick as life is if you want to have any time at all.

Or if you want to form new habits.

The habits that I want to form aren’t really that new, they’re just habits that I gradually fell out of. I used to write every day. Recently I’ve gone through a bit of a phase where I barely write at all. I make a lot of notes about things to write, but when I sit down to actually work on things, I inevitably get distracted by the internet, or my dog, or (horror) an upcoming paper.

I think it ultimately comes down to priorities, and for a while there writing wasn’t as much of a priority as it’s been in the past. Which has, at times, made me feel unbelievably anxious. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. Am I still a writer if I’m not writing? My feeling is no, but it matters enough to me to write that I feel vast quantities of existential angst about the thought of not doing it.

Here’s the thing about vast quantities of existential angst, though.

Existential angst is essentially useless.

Realizing that doesn’t meant that I’m not still going to have it from time to time, but I think it’s an important realization to have.

So how do you get started after you’ve been in a rut of not starting.

You just start.

I’ll repeat that, because it’s simple enough to seem like a trick.

Just start.

Do whatever you have to do so that you don’t take yourself and what your doing so seriously as to cripple yourself. Sort your head out. And just fucking start.

Because I firmly believe that half the effort in doing anything is beginning it. A friend of mine had a very simple writing goal that he set himself every day, and it was to just write one sentence. He inevitably wrote more than one sentence, usually a lot more, but the one sentence goal was non-threatening enough that he never felt like he couldn’t achieve it. His life was never so overwhelmingly busy that he couldn’t write a single sentence.

I’m prone to super-sized goals and letting myself get carried away. I think that’s part of the problem. I don’t just want to write a book. I want to write a series of books that interlink narratively with another series of short stories, all under the pseudonym of a character in a graphic novel which is itself the past of a video game.

I really need to calm the fuck down and just write my 1000 words, or my sentence, or my whatever. I need to just start, and start regularly.

Forward momentum is the secret to walking in heels. It’s the standing still that kills you, and I think that could be said to be true of lots of things in life. That’s not to say you shouldn’t stop to look around once in a while, I wouldn’t dare argue against the credo of the Bueller, but you’ll notice that he didn’t do a whole lot of stopping in that movie.

Just start today. Just start tomorrow. Just start the next day.

Just fucking start.

Love,

B

Joining Camp Nanowrimo late

Heya,

What day is it today? It’s April 5th? Okay, I’m not that late.

I’ve decided to attempt Camp Nanowrimo again. I tried to do it last year at some point (I can’t remember which time period it was, they have two different intake periods, I think), and it sort of fell by the wayside for reasons I’m not going to get into right now (mostly because they’re personal and I don’t really want to, but also because I’m not entirely confident of their validity).

I think that I’ll focus on Runaway Lane, just to add weight to the general “stop thinking so much you think too much freak” nature of that story. Also, having no real plans might make it easier for me to engage more with the community. I will have no plans, so I can have no secrets. There is nothing to be precious about with this story. I have no trajectory, so I can easily ask and accept input.

Maybe. Hopefully. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’m on there as brittanyelina. If you’re there and you feel like it, find me. Or not. Whatever. I’m not your mom friending you on Facebook. No obligation.

Love,

B

All of the thoughts

Heya,

Okay, I talked before about Runaway Lane and using prompts for it, and I got really excited today because I had an idea.

There’s a game I used to play when I was younger called Once Upon a Time. I still have it. It’s basically a card game where everyone is given 10 cards (the number of cards changes depending on how many people are playing) and the cards have different story elements on them. Some have characters, some have locations, some have events, you get the picture. The idea is to create a story using the cards in your hand, but the story can be redirected by the other players, who want to use up their cards and so will try to take over the story. There are a couple of ways that they can do this—if you pause too long, if you lay down cards without those cards being relevant to the story (ex. if you have a ladder, a cat, and a horseshoe in your hand, you can’t just say that your character has a ladder, a cat and a horseshoe to get rid of the cards), if you forget something that has already happened in the story. Any of those things happen, and they can swoop in and redirect the story.

So I was thinking that instead of using prompts, which can be prescriptive, every time I sit down to write, I’ll draw ten cards from my Once Upon a Time deck and try to use at least … I don’t know, half of them?

Or I could just sit down and think about it a little and try to make a rough outline from what I’ve already got.

I don’t know.

What do you think?

Love,

B

WattPad update: I have no idea what I’m doing

Heya,

I finally posted a segment of that impromptu prompt story, Runaway Lane, on WattPad. I was able to use the first of the Nick Bantock prompts, although I ended up having to break it up a bit/restructure it a little.

It’s weird, I’m not a hardcore planner or anything like that, but I usually have some sort of plan. I know where the story is going to end, I have some points on the plot graph to work towards or discard as I go along.

I’ve got nothing here. I have no idea what’s happening in the story beyond what I’ve written on WattPad and here. And that’s not much. I don’t know where this story is ending. I don’t know any characters other than the ones that exist right now, here on this site and on WattPad.

It’s weird. I guess I’m used to going in with more information. Or, if not information, at least a kind-of-sort-of-maybe theme or idea to build towards.

I kind of like it. I don’t know, I feel like I spend more time languishing over thoughts than I would if I had more of a plan, and I don’t know that the results are quite what I usually expect of myself, but it is sort of freeing to not have any kind of plan. Maybe I’ll use prompts for every chapter. Though they’ll have to be prompts that aren’t super prescriptive…and I should probably have a schedule for working on the WattPad stuff, in addition to my other writing.

I am scared that the whole thing is going to fall apart somewhere in the middle, or that I’m going to have to craft some terribly contrived, Deus ex machina bullshit to have any kind of ending to it.

But that’s future Brittany’s problem.

Love,

B

The artist in a lonely garret

Heya,

I referred to myself as a Lonely Garret Writer in my last post, and I feel like I should explain myself a little, and what that means, since I fully intend to use that term in the future. I’m fairly confident that I’ve used that term in the past.

First, some definitions, copy-pasted from Wikipedia because they seemed right to me:

Lonely

Loneliness is a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation or lack of companionship. Loneliness typically includes anxious feelings about a lack of connectedness or communality with other beings, both in the present and extending into the future. As such, loneliness can be felt even when surrounded by other people. The causes of loneliness are varied and include social, mental or emotional factors.

Which sounds admittedly less than super, but I’m kind of thinking more about this part:

The existentialist school of thought views loneliness as the essence of being human. Each human being comes into the world alone, travels through life as a separate person, and ultimately dies alone. Coping with this, accepting it, and learning how to direct our own lives with some degree of grace and satisfaction is the human condition.

Which may also not sound that great, if you’re not a LGW. Or, sometimes, even if you are.

Garret

A garret is generally synonymous in modern usage with a habitable attic or small (and possibly dismal or cramped) living space at the top of a house.

Which seems flat, but the origins and connotations of the word have greater depth:

Like garrison it comes from an Old French word garir of ultimately Germanic origin meaning to provide or defend.

A garret may be small and cheap, but it’s safe. It’s defensible. And it can exist as a living model of the writer’s mind, depending on the degree of clutter and isolation. (I realized as I was writing this that the room where I do the bulk of my writing is strikingly similar to a garret. It’s over the garage and the ceiling angles inwards. There is one window. I have tacked a lot of shit to the walls.)

Writer

A writer is a person who uses written words in various styles and techniques to communicate ideas. Writers produce various forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, short stories, poetry, plays, news articles, screenplays, or essays. Skilled writers are able to use language to express ideas and their work contributes significantly to the cultural content of a society.The word is also used elsewhere in the arts – such as songwriter – but as a standalone term, “writer” normally refers to the creation of written language.

Okay, now I’m just being a dick. You know what a writer is, I just felt like I needed to put it in for the sake of symmetry.

Anyway, the LGW is the writer who finds fulfillment and inspiration in communion with their own psyche. Or, not necessarily through communion with their own psyche, but people who take in the stimulus that the world throws at them and then process it in solitude in their own space. Talking about their work makes them feel (and act) awkward. They’re more likely to balk at calling themselves a “writer,” and prone to doing it with a one-shoulder shrug. They’re the poised (or not so poised) introverts who like but don’t need people. People are distracting. They ask you to go places that aren’t in front of your computer, working on your story. And if you let them, they’ll make you feel like a weirdo for not going. Bit of (possibly bad) advice: don’t let them. Be boring and get shit done. In your lonely garret.

This isn’t a remotely new idea. Virginia Woolf talks about the idea of this in A Room of One’s Own (she also talks about the need for money, which … I’m working on it, don’t rush me, Woolf, I’m not scared of you!)(yes, I am, don’t haunt me). I just felt that I should define it because I feel like writers fall somewhere between two extremes, one of them being the LGW. The kind of person who, in another age, wrote until their fingers bled in tiny, drafty attics, succumbed to tuberculosis and died. We’re more advanced now. The spaces are still small, but the doctor’s are better, and since our mom’s can easily call/text/email us to make sure we’re still alive, we’re more likely to go to them.

The other type of writer is the Gregarious Barfly Writer, which I will talk about at some point.

I should preface this—I don’t think either one is better than the other, and I don’t think any writer is entirely one or the other, just as I don’t believe that there are any complete introverts or extroverts. We’re all an amalgamation of different tendencies. But most of us tend more towards one or the other.

And I’m a Lonely Garret Writer.

Love,

B