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  • Writer's pictureD. G. Martin

It's What I Don't Say

Meandering river.
A river is always the shortest path between two points. Always.

Tuesday Drivel is often a place where I take an experience or topic that has somehow touched or affected my life over the previous week and given me reason to think on and expand a certain take or idea that I develop from said experience.

It is uncommon for me to simply be saying what I am saying, and that is most of the fun, most of why I do it. I know I come from a rather old school, by my reckoning anyway, of writing and literary criticism when I express the belief that a writer can always be saying something other than what's on the page. That's one of the best parts about the whole thing.

I could be telling a story, or I could be telling a truth. Or both. Or neither.

My only apology in all of this is that if you have come here expecting me to be making a specific point on this particular day, well, you may come away disappointed.

Today, I simply want to talk about being a writer.

No, not that part where I complain about how hard it is, how unpublished I am, or how many rejections I've received this month.

All of those things are boring and of little interest even to me. Not to say that I don't pay attention to at least two of those things (I'll alleviate your curiosity by telling you that I never complain about how hard writing is. I don't agree with that sentiment in the way that most people might, so that is part of a much different conversation.) on at least a weekly basis.

But when am I going to get to my point?

I rather like being asked that question. It tells me two things that I find fascinating.

First, it tells me that whoever is paying attention has indeed been paying attention. Attention is good for a writer. We like attention. Not too much of it, though, so please lavish in moderation. We want to be seen and heard, not focused upon. A slightly bleary image, you might say, where the lines and borders don't quite all come into focus all at the same time. We like it that way. Seen but not understood. I think.

Second, it tells me how much of a story is pertinent to the tale and how much of it can be cut in editing. That's right, you're the tool I'm using to make me a better storyteller. You are the pre-alpha listener to the story that I'm currently telling you. I don't know what the story is. I'm probably never going to write about it. It's likely that my pants did not, in fact, go on one leg at a time this morning, stubborn buggers. But I'm better because of your question, and I appreciate the feedback. (Disclaimer: I DO NOT appreciate the questioning tone and what it represents, and I expect you to listen to the story exactly as I mean to tell it. So sit there and buckle up. It's gonna be a long ride to get somewhere I could have taken us twenty minutes ago.)

Well, I have some bad news. I spent so much time explaining the why and the how that I've gone and forgotten the what.

I guess that's just life for you. You can put in all the work to get there, do everything right, and still end up with an unsatisfying and abrupt ending.


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