Thursday, July 17, 2008

a reason i feel inadequate as a writer.

a good deal of the reason i never feel up to par as a writer (beyond the fact that i am lazy with my diction and also just lazy generally) is that basically everything i want to express has already been written. specifically, it's already been written by Douglas Adams. he passed away in 2001, but not before shaping much of my comedic and written sensibility. most of what i write is in a specific style i attribute primarily to him. he worked in radio and comedy before becoming a novelist, and therefore most of his books SOUND many times better when read aloud than when read silently on the page. if you know me at all in person, and you imagine me saying the words instead of just reading them on the page... it sounds more... right. i am not sure if that is a deficiency of the writer for not being to create a written voice that can express itself in a verbal way ONLY, or if it's a specific effort to take into consideration the aural aspects of communication. regardless, there is a very specific, very English rhythym to Douglas Adams' work that affected me deeply, in addition to his quirky, playful, dark and intense worldview. hearing George Carlin talk about his incredibly dark views of humanity in recent retrospectives has convinced me of two things; 1) i should have worked harder to familiarize myself with Carlin's stuff long ago and 2) Adams was the British, novelist version of Carlin. Carlin aside... aside, i miss Douglas Adams terribly, and suggest his books (specifically the books on tape that he read) to anyone and everyone. below is the specific passage that i was reminded of shortly after writing yesterday's 'pizza and boobs' entry. this is from 'The Long, Dark Tea Time of the Soul', the main character is Kate Schechter, a New York writer who now lives in London.

She enjoyed the notion that New York was home, and that she missed it, but in fact the only thing she really missed was pizza. And not just any old pizza, but the sort of pizza they brought to your door if you phoned them up and asked them to. That was the only real pizza. Pizza that you had to go out and sit at a table staring at red paper napkins for wasn't real pizza however much extra pepperoni and anchovy they put on it. London was the place she liked living in most, apart, of course, from the pizza problem, which drove her crazy. Why would no one deliver pizza? Why did no one understand that it was fundamental to the whole nature of pizza that it arrived at your front door in a hot cardboard box? That you slithered it out of greaseproof paper and ate it in folded slices in front of the TV? What was the fundamental flaw in the stupid, stuck-up, sluggardly English that they couldn't grasp this simple principle? For some odd reason it was the one frustration she could never learn simply to live with and accept, and about once a month or so she would get very depressed, phone a pizza restaurant, order the biggest, most lavish pizza she could describe - pizza with an extra pizza on it, essentially - and them, sweetly, ask them to deliver it.
"To what?"
"Deliver. Let me give you the address - "
"I don't understand. Aren't you going to come and pick it up?"
"No. Aren't you going to deliver? My address - "
"Er, we don't do that, miss."
"Don't do what?"
"Er, deliver. . ."
"You don't deliver? Am I hearing you correctly... ?"
The exchange would quickly degenerate into an ugly slanging match which would leave her feeling drained and shaky, but much, much better the following morning. In all other respects she was one of the most sweet-natured people you could hope to meet.


Michelle said...

I really liked this post.

For future topics...knees and onions.

benzado said...

Everything has already been done before! Don't let that stop you! Just write the same thing again. At least you are writing! Write write write!

I do a one-on-one coaching seminar where I yell at you about this. If you want a testimonial, you can talk to my only client so far, Dom Manzolillo.

P.S. Have you read Salmon of Doubt? I'm halfway through it; if you like I can loan it to you when I'm done.