where the writers are
Unfit for Human Consumption

Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.---Proverbs 14:4

The longer I've been writing the more I realize that very few "civilians" realize how messy the creative process is.  Creative people have messy cribs.  I mean in the figurative sense.  Actually my office and library is quite orderly, and the advent of the word processor as my main creative engine has made it even more so. But it's still a raggedy path betwieen original concept and published prose.

I was recently listening to a nice lady on NPR, a music preservationist/concervationist, who had run across a treasure trove of J.S. Bach's scribblings and scrawlings.  However, she was strenuously lamenting the fact that such a brilliant min would use such poor quality paper for his creative efforts. .she spoke as if Bach had personally made her life difficult by making his embryonic thoughts so hard to read.  It was as if he had scrawled his notes on toilet paper (which, by the way, didn't even exist at the time).

I'm sure ol' Bach saved his best paper for the finished product.  He couldn't run down to Office Max and grab a few reams of paper any time he had a burst of inspiration.  He probably realized that only a smalll fraction of what he ever created would reach the public ear.  Creative brilliance generally shows up as tiny morsels of caviar buried in huge quivering gobs of Spam.

I would LOVE to think that 350 years from now, some future preservationist would consider my writing of such artistic value that rummaging through my trash bin would be a lifetime passion.

I'm not that delusional yet.

But this brings up a very good point.  I would venture to say that most honest writers (and I think everyone here on Red Room is honest) realize that the vast majority of what they create is unfit for human consumption....at least in some point in the process.  Writing is rewriting.  Unlike a "job" where you get paid to show up, a writer only gets paid if and when someone consideres his final product worthy...by whatever standard theat worth is measured.  What this means is that writers who survive LIKE the messy crib.  Most of our time is spent looking at the greasy undercarriage...so we'd best learn to enjoy working in the service pit.

But the rewards are worth it.

 

Eric