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nanowrimo 2010


Diary of a Blind Madman

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nanowrimo 2010

Romanticizing the Writer

         I've been a writer all my life. I can't help it. Heinlein said of writing, "…do it in private and wash your hands afterwards." I suspect he wrote that after long years of writing for a living. If you're like me you aren't really able to not write, whether or not it is publishable. Words just keep coming out and finding their way to paper (or sometimes to the digital equivalent).

         I plead the catch-all excuse of genetic predisposition. My family has had a tradition since about the tenth century (literally) that requires the eldest son of each generation to be its chronicler and diarist. I'm the sixteenth generation to maintain a life-long chronicle. We skipped a few along the way, but not many. The record may be unique. I suspect I'll be the last of my line to do this. None of my boys are related by blood, so the line of von Lauterbach und Halmisch ends with me. None of them seem inclined to being diarists. In the grand scheme of things I think it unimportant, but it does seem a shame. I truly doubt that my own chronicles can be gathered into a comprehensible whole as they span too many media. I have pages in longhand and typewritten. I have a box of cassette tapes from the late '60s. I have tons of disks, some in formats unreadable by any machine to which I am likely to ever have access, and, of course, I have the last few years of journals reposing online. It would take a dedicated genealogist indeed to compile all that. It is definitely a project I intend never to attempt.

         For all of that, I have always wanted to be a writer. I worked as a programmer for most of my life. It was never anything I wanted to do. It was interesting, absorbing even, but never on my radar until I just fell into it. Early in life I thought I wanted to be a teacher, perhaps at grade school or high school level. I fulfilled that ambition in my 50s when I taught programming in the corporate world at a post-collegiate level. It came with a fringe benefit that made it worthwhile to me; I was able to write my own training manuals.

         I always pictured writing as involving starving in an attic garret. I thought if I was a writer I'd spend endless hours in coffee houses (the coolest places) talking to the avant-garde and bohemian writers (the coolest people) while listening to jazz (the coolest music) and smoking endless cigarettes (exhibiting viricapnity thereby) and being thought one of the coolest.

         It has never been that way for me. The company of other writers has always turned out to be an onerous duty rather than an enjoyable intellectual fête. I really don't care to read other peoples "amateur" writing - as differentiated from my obsession with reading in general. I have never really cared much whether or not my work was read by others. I enjoy being read, make no mistake. I don't, however, seem to care much what anyone thinks of what I write. The publishing equivalent of a killer's instinct seems lacking in me.

         Enough is enough. I finished my daily poem, finally. It can be found at my website and in louderpoetry. I'm for bed. I must see the doctor to have some blood drawn tomorrow. That means I'm fasting until around 10:00. Ick.