turn, turn, turn

A few months ago, I decided I couldn’t consider myself a playwright anymore. Though my desk houses a little orange plastic box full of index cards scribbled with story ideas, potential titles and bits of dialogue–a box I add to on a regular basis–I hadn’t done any real playwriting in a few years. I just wasn’t moved to open a Word doc and make that blinking cursor cruise across the page.

To actively call yourself something, it’s a good idea to actively be doing that thing.

(I’m not talking about meeting people and saying, “Hi. My name is Crystal. I’m an Aries, a dog lover and a playwright.” I’m talking about internal definitions. The way you place yourself in the life you’re living.)

There was relief in no longer being a playwright. I didn’t have to keep torturing myself about not having a project percolating. When friends asked if I was working on anything, I could say with conviction, “I’m not writing plays anymore.” My lone full-length had two great productions and a much-needed learning experience production, so there was a sense of completion. And it was okay.

Story shouldn’t be forced. It should knock on your door in the middle of the night demanding to be let in. I’m a believer in what Mr. Bukowski says about writing:

if you have to wait for it to roar out of you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

I waited patiently, but no one arrived. I turned the porch light off, turned on my sound machine and went to sleep.

Then this election entered the picture. This ridiculous, infuriating, absurd shitshow of an election. I saw friends get in fights on Facebook with their friends and family that I’m not sure they’ll be able to recover from. With each passing presidential “debate,” I watched our country slip further and further into a pool of tepid, flat Budweiser America, with only a raft of soggy Cheetos and a copy of Playboy to hold on to. Each day brought a new low, when I thought we’d already dented the basement floor.

That’s when I heard a knock at the door.

10-year blog anniversary: potpourri

all workWe’re almost to the end of this journey back in time. One more post tomorrow, and then it’s back to the present.

This post is about how pussified writers (and many artists, actually) have become. How they need constant reassurance and stroking to put pen to paper, when so many who came before wallowed in obscurity (and even filth) but still managed to crank some good shit out.

You would be amazed how many people google “did phil collins witness a murder?” They find an answer in this post, which was born from a question my brother Mason submitted to my fake advice column on houstonist.com called “Ask a Dilettante.”

I’ve always promised to be honest in this blog, and I’ve mostly succeeded. This was a rare creative writing entry not based on reality.

First I fell in love with Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley. Then I got a cold splash of reality that maybe it was a little more fiction than reality. Then I realized that most memories are at least a little bit fiction, even when we’re recounting them shortly after the fact, because we’re constantly placing events in the context of our own reality. And my reality is likely different from yours, even when we’re standing right next to each other and maybe I’m a little closer to you than I should be and it’s making you slightly uncomfortable.
https://cryjack.com/2011/01/03/want-a-copy-of-travels-with-charley/
https://cryjack.com/2011/04/12/travels-with-charley-redux-the-conflicted-edition/

Back in the day (2012, in fact) Google search terms that brought people to my blog would show up in a list on my admin dashboard. They were always way more interesting than my blog, so I was sorry when Google went dark on search terms.

this blog is 10 years old on Sunday

warning

That’s like 1,000 years in blog-time. This is my longest-lived writing project and most meaningful one, even though it’s mostly just poop jokes.

To commemorate the occasion, for the next few days I’m going to share some favorite posts from the 965 I’ve written so far. Yes, I actually scanned back through a decade of this bullshit. Then I got a headache.

After the posts have been posted and Carol Burnett is mopping the place up, I’m going to give away a Fight stupidization. t-shirt in black, XL. I only have two left–I’ve been saving them for random encounters with LouisCK or Neil deGrasse Tyson–but I think this occasion is worthy. More to come on that.

Thanks for reading. It’s nice having company on this trip.