As we established yesterday, writers are oftentimes wonderful at being writers and horrible at being people. Anyone who creates art can be.
(Look here: I’m not going to talk about any other type of artist, because I don’t know what that is like. I am not a dancer, a painter, a potter, a butter sculptor, a book binder. In fact, I envy those types of artists because they seem to have it so easy – and maybe the only reason I can think this because I know that they don’t have it easy. It’s hard to explain. But another artist of some type or stripe might understand.)
But make no mistake: it can be no other way. If we had been judging from the dawn of time the work of artists solely on their ability to be good and rational and selfless individuals at all times we would still be staring at cave paintings and letter-like things etched in the dirt with sticks.
“Let’s face it,” Fran Lebowitz once said. “If you removed all of the homosexuals and homosexual influence from what is generally regarded as American culture, you would pretty much be left with ‘Let’s Make a Deal.'”
Full disclosure: I am a homosexual. But I’m not the witty, stylish, classy kind of homosexual about which Lebowitz is speaking here. I’m the kind f homosexual that the witty, stylish, classy homosexuals tend to avoid. And I’m okay with that. We all try to serve a purpose to our community, right?
Somewhat along these same lines, Spike Milligan once declared: “Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light.”
We’re almost all of us cracked, and that’s neither a lie nor a secret.
But the things writers do to “get it down,” to “let it out,” to “blow the sludge out of the creative pipes,” well…Sometimes it’s just horrible: to feel compelled to do it, to feel a morbid fascination with watching it, to feel moved to absorb it, process it, embrace or reject it.
Sometimes all of this – i.e., The Process – is just nuts. It can make you nuts. It can drive others nuts. There’s no real way to justify it, and no compelling argument for vilifying it.
Despite the title of these posts, writing is not all about dirty secrets, nor is the process helped along by dirty secrets, nor is there any contractual obligation to share dirty secrets in any piece of writing. Yet, we all do. We all do all of this at some point.