Filling Your Quota

I could be a much better writer if I wasn’t so concerned with output. With being seen. With having an endless and irritating internet presence. That’s what he tells me, swiping away my confidence like a sex-crazed man clearing a table of its contents to throw a woman down on it. But he’s not fucking me, just my mind. He wants to silence me, some part of me knows that. I guess I would want to silence me too. The thing is, writing is all I have, the only way I’ve ever been able to be loud. I feel as though a shrinking violet otherwise. Maybe a shrinking dandelion (the kind that blow in the wind, not the yellow kind). So for him to tell me that my writing is just a way to fill a daily quota, to accommodate my OCD-like graphomania, well, it hurts.

Then again, all of my interactions involve pain and/or disgust. That’s why I write them down, turn them into funhouse versions of themselves for my own sanity—fuck if it offends the person it’s about, thinly disguised more often than not. If someone did the same to me, I, of course would probably be a wreck, denying everything they claimed about me in my “character” form. And yet, very few have felt inclined to turn me into something that I’m not in one of their stories (that I’m aware of).

I’m full of rage, no beauty. And if it comes out in ways that make it seem as if I’m not giving enough attention to one thing—one project or pursuit—so be it. I have to channel my mania into as many themed outlets as possible, and in so doing appeal to as many niche weirdos as I can. Maybe I have writing ADD, or maybe I just want as many blogs as I can collect to once again boost my Google searchability.

Then, with the accusation of needing to fill a quota, comes the insistence that if I submitted more, licked the right asshole and focused on really fine-tuning my query letters, I would have published some “legitimate” work by now. Even if this were true and a writing career in the era that is now wasn’t contingent upon connections grossly made and a grad school degree, would this “legitimate” work appear as I wanted to, or bastardized to the point where there was no trace of me left in it? Jesus, a writer’s lucky if she even gets to keep the goddamn title she originally assigned to her story. And titles are important; losing them to what the editor wants usually feels a little like having a scrotum removed when it didn’t even have cancer. Condemn blogs for their inferiority—mainly because “anybody” can start one—for their uncouthness, if you will, but at least there remains an authenticity to them. Like The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath. The publishing world on the other hand, is the Ted Hughes-sanctioned version of this—The Journals of Sylvia Plath. Nobody wants that. They want emotion that stands out, even if that emotion can sometimes be too bathetic to endure without cringing just a little as you read. And this is because there is so scant an amount of genuineness traceable in anything anymore, least of all modern literature and prose.

Still he tells me if I just slowed down, took the time to build on my plots and my character development, I could have the fame and compensation I not so secretly desire. But I don’t have any fucking time. I have to get it all out of me now, in the moment, when it’s raw. Slow down? This isn’t a fucking R&B song, this is my frenetic mind, my outpouring heart that needs to tell anyone who will listen exactly what is being felt. If that’s not “high art,” if that’s not long enough to be deemed “serious” by scholars present and future that spend more time masturbating than studying anyway, then I will take my relegation as nobody, as marginal.

There you have it, I’ve just filled my quota. My writing tantamount to an endless supply of toilet paper squares you can wipe your ass with.

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