Writers! Argh they drive me crazy! Always with the words, these people! Can’t they ever just stop with all the brilliance and insight? Can’t they just be, without being a writer? Can’t they ever turn it off?
The quick answer to all of those questions is the same. No.
Now before I venture too much further into this essay on lunatics, I should point out that as always when I talk about “writers” I’m talking about one in particular. The only one I know for sure what he’s thinking, what he’s experiencing. The only writer who, though he often surprises me can never really trick me. Of course, I’m talking about myself. However, in the course of doing just that (talking about myself – show me a writer, especially a blogger, who doesn’t and I’ll show you a dead writer), I’ve found that my experience often runs parallel to that of other writers.
It is fairly normal for a person who experiences something in isolation, an emotion, let’s say, to believe they are the only human on the planet, and in the history of the planet for that matter, to have ever felt this way. One of the great revelations in all of humanity is the following:
Sometimes that revelation is literally life-saving. It’s the theme of many a good tale of self-discovery. Finding out you’re not the only one who feels the way you do has happened just in the nick of time to more than one person pulling them back from a precipice which up until that moment looked like the end of the line.
Because my working relationship with Craig Hart is so well-established now I have come to find that he is a perfect foil for all of my delusions of uniqueness. I have lost track of the number of times I’ve confessed some grave fear or some character flaw that must surely disqualify me from humanity, only to have him reply with, “Same.”
This is the central premise of the internet meme. With a picture and a few words, some creative rascal brings to life a visual vignette that makes you smile or frown, but at least it makes you feel something, very often because it’s something to which you can relate. “Oh, so I’m not the only one.”
In addition to actual sit-down-at-the-keyboard-and-get-to-work writing, which is what we do best, Craig and I are also big believers in encouraging other writers. That’s one of the biggest reasons we started our podcast, Good Sentences. Certainly, it’s fun to just talk about the craft of writing and to interview best-selling authors. But it’s also great and, we think, important to let people at all stages of their writing careers that many of the feelings, almost always unpleasant ones, are not theirs alone.
Craig and I talk just about everyday, throughout the day. Our primary means of communication, pretty much since the day in 2011 when we became Facebook friends, has been FB Messenger. It works well for us because we have it on our computers and phones, so if something critical needs to be worked out, (such as what one of us should have for lunch,) we are able to stay connected no matter what.
If you know us at all, or even if you know either of us, since we live over 900 miles apart and don’t actually share many day-to-day contacts, you can imagine that this decade-long conversation has included some very deep, insightful discussions of important literary matters. There is also an inordinate number of boob jokes. We also often joke about some future scholar, writing their doctoral dissertation on the works of Hart and Varengo, coming across the complete transcript of our Messenger conversation with the same life-changing excitement as they would upon finding a box of letters from Hemingway to William Faulkner, (all of them exactly the same – “Dear Bill, you’re such a dick. Love, Papa.”)
Yesterday, for example something Craig said triggered this response:
Almost as once I realized that some form of that statement would make a good meme. It was then I suggested to Craig we should cull our conversation for more of these nuggets and make our own memes.
Several hours later (after I’d already fallen asleep), Craig found and sent the meme to the right.
Right away we see a fundamental truth: There exists, somewhere in the universe, a meme for everything. But not necessarily a good meme for everything. This comes close, but its obvious flaw is that it contains images of Drake, a known carcinogen. [Ed. Note: This is satire. It has not yet been clinically proven that Drake causes cancer. Neither has it been disproved.]
Oh, lovely. You guys are back. Well, I’ll have you know that I’m already rehearsing for when he sues me. First I tried out the sentence, “It says ‘satire’ right in the goddamn paragraph, your honor.” Then I realized there was a chance he’d sue me in Canada and Craig suggested I substitute, “Your Royal Hiney,” a term which he tells me is acceptable in all courts there and was adopted, in traditional Canadian form, to help foreigners from embarrassing themselves while being tried for a crime in their country. They’re just so nice up there!
Craig also sent me this one, which I found unrealistic in many ways. First, the assertion that catching up on writing ideas is a thing is patently absurd. Why? I’ve got a ton of reasons but how about this one: I get writing ideas while writing. Secondly, the notion that if I ever did manage to somehow catch up on my writing ideas I would dress in such a dapper manner stretches reality beyond its inherent elasticity. I would not stand on a pink carpet in a mall, I’m guessing, either. I likely would not stand at all. I would lean back in my leather office chair, wearing my tartan-checked pajama pants a green GAP sweater, and realize I haven’t changed out of this ensemble all week, and I smell as evil as Jason Momoa looks in this picture. Thirdly they rarely come in packets as small as a million. In the words of Bradley Sinclair, telling his new wife Peggy in the presence of an Elvis impersonator that she’s now really, really rich, “Buh, sweetheart, as in buh-illions. You gotta think a little bigger now.” (This direct quote from Jelly Jars, by S.J. Varengo, is used by permission of the author, even though he’s a wiener).
I also hasten to point out it gets a couple things right. Every new writing idea comes creeping up on me, preparing to tackle me. They do all look vaguely demonic, much as young Jason does here, and they all hit as hard as I assume he’s about to. Oh! And they all wear those exact shoes.
But I digress. I’m here to announce a new division of E2 Books. The Meme Department, which will rely heavily upon Craig’s design skills and written idiocy from both of us. [Ed. Note: Interestingly this also describes all of their books.] Our first creation will appear on the E2Books homepage soon, and we’ll be updating them regularly. To what end?
WE WANT YOU TO STEAL THEM!
We want to see these suckers everywhere, so however, you need to get them, right-click, screenshot, recreate all the elements yourself (I’m sure Jason Momoa would be happy to come to tackle someone for you), just grab ’em and repost ’em.
Go ahead. We’ll wait.