August 13, 2007

The Festering Stew Continues to Rise...



I haven't posted a lot here because I can't really decide what to write these days. I was trained to write analytically, but critical writing for me has always been an amalgam of bullshit held together by the flimsiest thread of truth. Anything can be bent to your thesis if you flood your reader with enough jargon, you know? We've been seeing the high and low form of that art for 7+ years now.

I'm good at it (or at least past teachers have told me so) but I really kind of despise critical analysis. I've come to believe that deliberately stepping up as an authority on something- anything- anymore is foolish and arrogant. The best comment (critical comment!) I ever got was in my 10th grade honors English class- after the first real essay of the year, everyone got mid-to-high B's and low A's, except me.

I got a C+. Why? Because she could tell I skated the whole fuckin' thing. "I know you have a good brain," she admonished me, "because your 9th grade English teacher told me so, but in this class you have to prove to me that it works, Keir."

So I stepped up and tried to prune as much bull as possible out of my critiques and essays and term papers, and tried to do that in all classes in which I was required to write them. By the time I got to AP Lit 2 years later, I was being trained to bash out this shit quickly for the AP test. Best stuff, fast as you can. College papers were a fucking joke after that- and no offense to my favorite teachers and TA's, but I had the game gamed by then, unfortunately.

Vocabulary helps. So does technique and finesse. You learn all that by reading every fucking thing you can get your hands on (on any topic). The reason I'm merely good and not Really Fucking Good is that I failed to read everything I possibly could.

I don't know. Writing was just always one of those things I could do. That I had to do, whether in blog posts or novel attempts or song lyrics. Didn't and doesn't make it fun, though, and like anything else it leaves you if you don't practice.

I always thought that good writing will get praise, but great writing will fuck people off. They won't like it and won't get it and say it's shit and be willfully ignorant or condescending or arrogant or snide or snobby and they will try and get other people to agree with them.

Maybe just write about the things you love. Music is one of those things for me, and it helps that I can (sort of) actually play. I hate how some asshole sports writers who've never suited up will bitch and moan about Player X, when they don't know anything about being hit in the face with a puck or hurt by a flying tackle or thrown out at home or, hell, when they don't know how it feels to be benched while some other primadonna is playing your position.

That's why I don't write critically that much anymore- because for too many things in this world, the things that I haven't experienced or known or endured, I'm the fucker who's never suited up, and I will NOT be idiotic enough to opine about shit I don't know. If I can help it. I probably lied right there. Oh well.

Now, ask me about geography or U2 or history or or my band or baseball, for example, and I might be able to help you. The rest of everything else is still beyond my ability to judge with the written word.

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