A Writer’s Lament (Part 752 of 9,479)

Desk Black & White #2

It’s been awhile since I last wrote anything in this humble little blog of mine.

Now before you accuse me of humble-blogging, I’ll just go ahead and admit up front that I haven’t really had anything to write about. Even my latest Alistair and Alexis story was as slick a piece of refurbishment as ever graced a recycling bin.

But a writer must do what a writer must, up to and including plagiarizing his own work.

When someone decides to become a writer, the first thing they must do is put their pride high up on a shelf in a cardboard box that has scrawled upon its side in Sharpie the words, “Miscellaneous Kitchen Stuff“.

The days when writers could be proud are long since past (or passed). I know you may find this hard to believe, but there was once a time, long, long ago, when a writer could actually make a living by writing. People eagerly snapped up magazines and newspapers and books by writers and were willing to pay good money for them and talk about them over the water cooler the next day.

But those were simpler times.

Now, by some estimates, a full 80% or 90% of the population are writers. The good news, is that there is a myriad (or perhaps a plethora) of new venues and outlets to post and share their work.

The bad news is that there are so many venues and outlets, and writers to fill them, that no one can possibly read them all.

And so we don’t.

Who has that kind of time? We’re doing good just to get the dishwasher unloaded and the clothes folded and put away and the cat barf cleaned up out of the carpet. Surely we cannot be expected to read on top of all that? We are only human after all. And that cat barf is not going to clean itself up.

[Note to self for future million-dollar idea: self-cleaning cat barf.]

And you think reading a million posts a day is hard! Try wringing a page of words out of the insipidity and vapidity that make up a typical modern life. There is more blood in a turnip.

Fun fact: Sappho, a Greek poet from the seventh century BC, called one of her paramours GongΓ½la, which means”turnip”.

I can’t imagine that even a paramour would think that was a term of endearment.

But … hey … at least she didn’t have to try to squeeze a blog post out of it.


  1. Hear, hear–I can’t even get my own brother to read my newest novel! I say, “Hey, have you read my book yet?” and he says, “Oh, I’ve been so busy…” I mean, I feel bad that I never read HIS book, but it was on Global Employment Law…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, then, he was just asking for his book to not be read!

      I can’t even get my family to read my short stories. They always fake their own deaths until I finally give up and walk away. I can only imagine what they would do if I chased them down with a novel.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Perhaps some engineer can add an attachment to one of those robot vacuum cleaners that can handle cat barf.

    Of course, the noise from such a machine would frighten the cat from ever entering the room, thus rendering itself useless.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Biff

    I always enjoy your jocular tone that seems so congruent with my own, I like to think we have a friendly competition (as men, we must, though if it were arm wrestling, it might be close, I’ve been doing some cable curls). You do bring up good points, in all seriousness, and ones I have pondered at times. Now, more than at any time in history possibly, there is a glut of writing, a lot of which, let’s be honest, is dreck.

    We have unprecedented access to a large audience now, but then that audience becomes fragmented as they try to negotiate the tsunami of writing, winnow out the chaff from the wheat, or however that saying goes. What to read, and what not. We can self-publish with ease and pinpoint our demographic like no other time in history.

    Biff, you and I are familiar with how it was, to our detriment. A dreaded paradigm shift has occurred. I hate to mention that phrase outside of a corporate office, but there it is.

    Depending on my mood, I too lament the craft of writing. It is all too easy to be cynical and throw my hands in the air, but I am making a concerted effort not to be cynical. There is too too much of that around these days. That is the appeal of your blog – you manage to avoid those pitfalls, but when you DO drop it in, it has a much more pronounced effect.

    Anyway, I like your A&A stories, but also your older ones, with more pathos. Short of a pair of shootin’ irons to the head, I cannot make you write (though I do think that some of your best writing might occur – cough Misery).

    I have found a compromise to the brain busting fatigue of writing, and that is to incorporate it into my artwork, which is easier on my previously injured brain.

    Like Steinbeck said, and I paraphrase, we are the only animal that is dissatisfied. Why can’t we be happy with our lot? Stupid prefrontal cortex!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Wilt! Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I always love reading your comments.

      Yes, I agree, it is too easy to become cynical and jaded as writers. And I think that prevents us from honing our skills because it is so hard to push through the cynicism, and so we just give up. But I am trying to get better about that.

      And I very much appreciate your commentts about my fiction. I am going to try to write more of that. Believe it or not, fiction was my first love. I only turned to these essays, (or “creative non-fiction” as it is called nowadays) because that seemed to be what attracted readers here on WP. But I need to get back to my roots and write what I enjoy most. I enjoy the essay-type posts as well, but I have been doing them almost exclusively for the past few years.

      I like what you’ve done with your art and making them more “wordy”. That makes them as funny as they always were, but also makes them insightful and gives the reader more a glimpse into your “artist”s brain”. So keep that up!

      And you are so right about us being the only animal in all of creation that is dissatisfied. The only item on my bucket list is to someday be satisfied with something I write.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  4. I have no dishwasher and no cat. Not sure where that puts me on the “time to read” scale. The good news is that most of what is published online isn’t worth reading, so you can ignore it without guilt. The bad news is that sometimes you miss the good stuff.

    Liked by 3 people

    • There always seems to be a never-ending train of things that take up our time, whether it is a dishwasher, or some other “labor saving” device.

      And you’re so right about ignoring 99.9% of everything online. But, as you say, sometimes that causes us to miss the gems.


  5. I know what you’re saying! Everybody and his pup–or cat, as the case may be–is self -published on Amazon now, and those of us who are really GREAT writers can barely attract a live audience. And I don’t have a dishwasher, either. It’s downright depressing. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, Christine. It has become nigh onto impossible to attract readers nowadays just because there is so much competition out there. I don’t know how to make something I’ve written stand out from the crowd. But there must be a way. Other’s have done it.

      So don’t give up hope!

      And the solution to not having a dishwasher is to eat out often. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

        • Ha ha! That’s true! You’ll just have to do it on the sly. Go to a restaurant and surreptitiously score some free packets of crackers or mints or ketchup. That’s what I did when I was in college. That way you can eat out every night and still maintain your “starving artist” vibe.

          Liked by 1 person

          • You’ve reminded me of an old man who used to come into the doughnut shop where I worked. He’d order a small senior’s coffee and six small creamers on the side. Then he’d open the creamers one by one and drink them. πŸ˜‰

            By the way, can I quote your statement about the only item on your bucket list? I could see that statement becoming a “famous quote” someday. πŸ™‚


            • That’s probably going to be me after I “retire”. Ha ha!

              And, yes, feel free to quote me (with proper attribution, of course πŸ˜‰ ) . This may be my ticket to fame and fortune. Or maybe just fame. Or probably just free creamer packets at a fast food restaurant. πŸ˜€

              Liked by 1 person

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