YTAH's Weblog


Your Opinion Doesn’t Mean Shit to Me.

Posted in blogs,rants by YTAH on August 20, 2008
Tags: , , , ,

Being a writer means a lot of things; being a published writer means even more. It’s one thing to actually write the fucker; it’s quite another getting anybody else to damn well read it. And I should know, because I’ve written 30,000 words for you people already, and what’s the thanks I get? Cartfuls of hate mail? Death threats? Angry letters from your attorneys demanding the removal of offensive material? No. Which pretty much means that nobody is listening, doesn’t it. I mean, all Jeremy Clarkson has to do is malign Norfolk or the new Volvo and he gets thousands upon thousands of letters, and meanwhile, here I am, using the words “cunt” and “spazzwank” and “clitwart” with joyous abandon, and what is the thanks I get? One measly comment decrying my lack of good taste and sensitivity. Almighty Sekhmet, people. This truly is a third-world country; I want first-world hate mail, for fuck’s sake. Ungrateful bastards; I don’t know why I bother.

Actually, that’s a lie. (But then I lie a lot. Mostly in bed, writing this junk – but I’m lying about that, too.) I know exactly why I bother. I bother because I’m an arrogant cunt – an arrocunt, if you will. I’m a self-important, conceited fuck because I’m convinced that what I have to say is worth reading, that I write it better than most of the unwashed masses could ever hope to, and therefore that reading my half-baked bullshit is more worthwhile than anything else you could possibly be doing. After all, if I didn’t believe that, I would never write another word again, and then where would the world be?

Keep it in the closet? Fuck off

Nasty, grubby little poems.

Nasty, grubby little poems.

Worse, I could become like one of those terrible, pathetic people who write “bureau poetry” – soppy, sophomoronic love poems to be shared only with their collection of stuffed teddy bears and their favourite water lily. You know the kind of people I mean: the ones who’ll spend years composing odes to their “one lost love”, only to insist on keeping this drivel forever hidden away in their wardrobe’s bottom drawer, covered by a talisman-like layer of their most embarrassing intimate articles for good measure. For these people, “unwanted attention” can be defined as “the attention of anybody who could possibly offer some outside opinion, or objective criticism, or anything not derived from some delusional romantic attachment”. That’s pretty bottom-of-the-barrel stuff there, people – why would you go to all that trouble and never show it to anybody? Fuck that. At the very least, you could post it on africans so that other people can point and laugh at it. See? Already the poor tree who offered its life so that you could pen every one of the 70,000 drafts of “The Sweet, Sweet Lips of My Sweetheart Dear” would have had a better return on its investment than what it currently enjoys, you selfish, murderous fuck. Was it not enough to be an incompetent hack – did the tree really have to die for nothing?

Dr Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

To paraphrase an eminently sensible man, as he said before being blown sky-high: “The whole point of writing something is lost if you keep it a secret! Why didn’t you tell the world, eh?” When I write something, I want every single person in the fucking universe to read it, and once they’ve done so I fully expect them to thank me for it. Because it makes me laugh, so obviously everyone else is laughing, too. At me, with me, I don’t give a shit. Frankly, by the time you’ve decided what you want to write about, weighed up the pros and cons for whether it’s worth the effort, actually gone to the effort, and then went to the additional trouble of trying to convince other people to read it – colleagues, friends, random passersby, the barman – you’ve probably reached a point where you stop caring why anyone is reading it and settle for if. And that’s the real problem, see: every other writer is as arrogant as I am – which means, unfortunately, that everybody out there is as eager to get their stuff out there, and into your hands, as possible. Every single person who believes that their opinion is funny, insightful, and provocative, is thinking exactly the same thing I am; and there are a lot of arrocunts out there, my friends; a whole fucking lot.

Welcome to Grub Street

Grub Street past.

Grub Street past.

Since I do a lot of writing in my spare time, and seeing as how even my day-job involves the intricacies of language, I enjoy discovering new and unusual words. This is why I’ve signed up to several Word of the Day services which keep my vocabulary well-supplied with items both rare and pretentious, so that I can haul them out whenever I feel the urge to flaunt my superiority over others (which, you’d be surprised to know, is remarkably often). In fact it was thanks to the online version of some dim-witted American’s ancient dictionary that I recently discovered the phrase “Grub Street”, an ancient term that refers to “the world or category of needy literary hacks”. Now you might try to be funny and ask if this is because writers have to eat their words. Ha-fucking-ha. (Eat my words? Not on this salary.) No, it used to be an actual street in 17th-century London, later renamed (ironically enough) to Milton Street, which Samuel Johnson described in his dictionary as a place “much inhabited by writers of small histories, dictionaries, and temporary poems.” According to the American’s dictionary, the term “was applied figuratively to the dog-eat-dog world of pens-for-hire”.

Grub's up.

News on the street: Grub

You’ll agree that the term has a suitably grubby ring to it (hur hur), like the ring around the bath after you’ve spent 37 days trekking across the Mongolian desert, at the height of summer, wearing only your shorts. And you’d feel it, too, if you’d ever had the rather disheartening experience of writing draft after draft of a story, or spending hours practicing in a band, or the endless tasks of making a film, and realizing that, hey, wouldn’t you know, every other motherfucker with half a brain and access to the required equipment has done exactly the same thing. More depressing still, some of them are (gasp!) better at it than you are.

Writers are a jealous, arrogant lot

Last night I saw a fellow writer I hadn’t spoken to (not to say “heard from”) in quite a while. What was the occasion? It seems that, while I’ve been on here, talking to you fuckers, complaining about writing for free and not getting enough responses, she’s managed to complete her novel, which has always been one of her life goals. So she decided to celebrate by having drinks at a local bar. She doesn’t have a publisher yet, or an agent, but at least she’s got the book. (Sounds like an 80s song, doesn’t it? “Na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-nah, she’s got the book.”) And a few weeks ago, I discovered that someone else, whom I know via pinvictor, has made a documentary film. Not only that, but for a few months now pinvictor and dichotomaria have been squirreled away in their flat, away from the sweet, sweet beer and our ever-loving company, practicing like crazy to write songs and create an identity for their band.

These worms are sour.

Warning: These worms are sour.

Now, most people, when they hear that, would go: Wow. Good on you. I’m impressed. But personally, I’m torn between furious, blinding jealousy and know-it-all cynicism, and I’m sad to say it’s the latter that whispers loudest, in its unkindest, most selfish tones: “Hah, you think that’s the hard part, don’t you. Well, welcome to hell, people, because now you’re going to get to play the most depressing game of all: Getting Your Shit Out There.” Because I swear, by the time you’ve convinced even a handful of people to read your stories, or watch your movie, or attend your gig, you haven’t even begun the joyous slide into constant humiliation that self-promotion involves. And unless you’re producing the kind of middle-of-the-road pabulum that most people can stomach, you ain’t getting any kind of corporate sponsorship deals. So to all my fellow arrocunts, I wish you the very best of luck, and I hope you’re all as eager as I am to eat some worms for the sake of art.

Where was I? / Sun sign, anyone?

Sekhmet was a Leo...

Sekhmet was a Leo...

But since we’re reminiscing (or I was, anyway), I may as well recount the night a few weeks ago that I went drinking with a bunch of my friends. (You remember my friends, don’t you?) Anyway, first we hit the Guinness and the other draft beers, and then we got into a bit of a discussion (i.e. a blazing fucking row). And that’s when I realized something: I don’t give a shit what you think. I don’t want to hear your opinions. My opinion of my writing is high enough already, thank you very much-fuck-all. If I thought any more highly of my own shit, I would probably combust in a fiery ball of self-satisfaction that would make the Bomb look like a child’s fart. So go ahead – leave comments, don’t leave comments, see if I care. Go on, make my day. In fact, why don’t I just post your opinions for you? Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a flying damn. Because fuck it: I won’t rest until every single person in the universe reads my goddamn posts, and god help anyone who gets in the way.

[Originally posted on www.africans.co.za on Wednesday, August 20, 2008.]

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