September 30, 2005

It seems that writing is not my greatest skill. I am probably the last person on earth (counting only those who have read my writing) to realize this. I realized it rather suddenly only about ten minutes ago. How could it have taken so long?

When I refer to writing I am not talking about the mundane things like grammar and punctuation, nor the archaic art of penmanship (which I failed constantly all through grade school), but of the actual writing part of it. I can have a story in my head and see it happening in vivid detail, then type out the most bland 20 pages you have ever read when I try to describe it. If I were to tell the story verbally I am sure that I could get it all out there and make other people see the vision that I see, yet writing doesn’t seem to condone lines like “Oh yeah, he also had a horn growing out of his left shoulder”. In my rush to get the idea down onto paper (monitor) I usually miss a lot of the stuff that made the story seem so great. While it should be possible to just throw down an outline of the ideas with quick notes about what has been omitted, then add to the outline as I try to work it into a story, I simply am not capable of doing it.

I have a file drawer full of short stories (quite literally, there are hundreds of them, alphabetized and everything) that I wrote a long time ago. Out of the hundreds of stories I have there there are about four or five (that I can clearly remember) that I thought had a good enough story, and interesting enough characters to try to make into a workable novel (I also have a couple of novels in that same drawer, they are absolute garbage that I should have destroyed long ago). I began trying to do that with one of the stories a couple of months ago.

I never told anyone that I was doing it, I just started typing. I had my outline pretty well set within a week or two. The characters were interesting, the story was involving, it was all in place. It was probably a month ago that I actually started to write the story itself, and it was going really well, for a while…

No sooner than I had the characters introduced and the plot started to happen, I completely lost my writing ability. I didn’t know that at the time though, since that was several weeks ago. I did read what I had written the previous day to get me back into the scene to start writing the next day, but I had never read it from the beginning to where I was currently until tonight. It was absolute shit. 132 pages of absolute shit. I wouldn’t have read past the first ten were it not my own work, I have doubts that anyone else would have gotten that far. My first thought was to try to rewrite the sections that didn’t seem to ‘flow’, but the whole damn thing didn’t flow. IT. WAS. SHIT. I sighed pretty hard as I deleted the file, a bit harder as I emptied the trash can, possibly less hard as I deleted recently viewed files, then pretty hard again as I realized that I may not be meant to be a writer. I haven’t formatted my hard drive yet (what a head ache), so technically I could still get the story back if I wanted to, yet I know I never will. Perhaps I will take another shot at this ‘writing’ thing in a few more years, by then I might be better?

I really should have listened to the teachers in school when they told me that I would never be a writer. The consensus seemed to be that I could make an excellent Mathematician, just not a writer. Why is it that the one thing I really want to do, the one thing that I would be happy doing, is locked away by my inability to do it? That is actually an easy question to answer: I am really good at math, I really suck at writing.

Self deprecation may not be the best way to drive traffic to my site though, so I must mention that I will probably start to write some more of those Arthur Witles stories now that I realize that it may be the best I can do. Also it is pretty fun to write about him since the stories are short and I do love the little guy.

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