Thoughts On…

Being a writer.

I started watching Gossip Girl this week, on a recommendation from a friend. And while this may seem like a strange intro to thoughts/feelings on being a writer, I promise it’s relevant. One of the characters, Dan, who is of course my favorite, is a writer–and gorgeous! His ex-musician father and artist mother pay tens of thousands of dollars to send he and his sister, Jenny, to private prep school in NYs Upper East Side–for anyone who hasn’t seen the show. In the beginning, his dream is to attend Dartmouth, but that eventually turns into Yale for the superb English Lit department. Can’t say I blame. After getting a short story published in The New Yorker (thanks to his bff, Vanessa), Dan acquires an internship with one of his favorite writers, obtains a well-known author as a mentor, and gets a recommendation letter from a Dartmouth Lit professor. All seems to be going perfectly in writer-land.

Except he gets nixed from the internship because he fails to complete the last requirement: turn in a new, completed story to be reviewed by the author then sent to The Paris Review. It seems like a HUGE mistake to not follow through with the task. But Dan finds himself stuck–writer’s block. No matter how hard he tries, he just cannot write the story. Then his mentor tells him that he needs a new perspective, his stories are all from the same point of view and it’s boring. Dan’s reply, “I thought writers were supposed to write what they know. This is what I know.”

The sage advice given: Then learn something else.

But like Dan comes to find, you can’t just learn something else. We experience life just how we experience it, it’s unique and individual to each of us. If, like Dan, I tried to step into the shoes of someone from what seems like an entirely different way of life than mine…I’d still experience that world as, well, me. But maybe I could get some inspiration.

Write what you know. Write what I know. But, what do I know? Doesn’t feel like much most days. The things I do know would be liable to make for some depressing poems/stories, not to say that that means they wouldn’t be decent or relatable, I guess. I know about growing up in a small town, hating it and wanting nothing more than to get out. I know about being out and missing some of the small town things I used to hate. I know about cats and getting sunburnt and feeling frustrated with life.

Perhaps I’ve been going about trying to write all wrong. Basing it off inspiration alone, which would require having inspiring people/events/occurrences on a pretty regular basis. Which I don’t have, besides nature. And once upon a time, when I wrote all the time, there was a LOT of nature in it. Maybe it’s time to get back to basics, back to the root of where it all started, and try to make the best of it.

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