Happy fucking new year

I once read that Gabriel Byrne also wrote, and that he found the sight of an empty page in the typewriter (yes, that long ago) intimidating. Or depressing. Or something, either way, not good.

(Look, a whole paragraph.)

When I decided that I could make a living as a writer, and be free (more important than the actual profession, I suspect) there were many things that I wanted to write about. Now it seems all a lot of hooey. (I think hooey is a word.) Last year the world was more absurd, more acerbic, brasher…. funnier. Bolder, even. It inspired a desire to comment on its quirks. What happened between January and February this year, hell only knows. But it was not good either.

It was a little depressing to be told by one of the publications that DID take my stuff without fiddling with it too much that they are cutting down on freelance submissions. That might have had something to do with… whatever happened. But a simple “maybe” is hardly enough to flick the big switch at the end of the tunnel, and plunge the whole damn road into darkness. Feels dark, whatever it is, so I thought Betty Noire would be a good nom de blog… fun, but black. And with stockings and suspenders.

Having decided on a route forward, the trick, however, was to start writing again. Like I used to, for the hell of it, for the real joy of saying whatever I want in as many words as I think I need. To use Capitals where I see Fit in the Middle of sentences, to never employ the exclamation mark in a text unless Somebody was talking, to refrain from underlining words for emphasis, and to generally do as I damn well please, seeing how damn happy that makes me.

So this is a start. Thanks Gabriel. I thought of the article about him after I had spent an hour screwing around in my new blog space, changing my “theme”, wondering what “categories” would suit me, or at the very least, inspire me to write.

A thought on inspiration: Dirk Bogarde, another thespian whose relationship with words extended well beyond learning his lines, wrote a wonderful description of his muse while he was working on his first book, or autobiography, and trying to save his newly acquired olive grove in the south of France from drowning at the same time. She was a sulky bitch who crouched in the shadows and refused to yield a single idea unless he dragged her into the light by her hair and beat her within an inch of her life. Or something like that.

It’s how I remember it. It was also something I read very long ago, when I still took books out of the Melville library. (Now I think if I just manage to read all the books I have on my shelf, and never buy any new ones, I will have lived well past a hundred.)

But enough about inspiration, and back to writing. I have written nothing other than e-mail this year, and have had one idea for a story, which I am not going to end up doing any time soon if the local paper and its economic crisis has anything to do with it. (I am pleased that I have alternative methods of earning an income.) Still, I think I can get over the rejection.

“If you want to write, write.” This was Advice for Men, in one of those little books they sell lieu of sour space worms and wine gums at the Exclusive Books checkout. I often wondered if Advice for Women included “if you want to stab your faithless, cheating, son-of-a-bitch lover in the heart when you know he is lying to you, rather have a shot of tequila and throw his collection of vintage Batman comics out the window.” But there was a queue behind me so I moved along, and now I will never know.

Tonight was the 3rd or 4th time that I have taken the “writing” advice all over again, and I suspect it will not be the last time. It’s OK. I look at the page and it is no longer empty, and even in that there is a little triumph.

Finally. Happy fucking new year.

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