Monday, July 28, 2008

I need the "ideal reader"

I just read a piece about Vonnegut on writing; it was paraphrased from an actual Vonnegut interview I believe, so I'm getting the telephone game effect.
He said something, then the writer of the article repeated what he thought he heard, and then I heard I'm great and don't need to work on improving my writing because I'm a god-damn genius.

In the comments there were other tips - Orwell's advice on writing, suggestions to die in a fire, and one unattributed suggestion: "Always write for just one person."
I think the advice actually spawns from Stephen King, in On Writing. His ideal writer was Tabitha, if I remember right.

So, I have to figure out who that should be in my world.
One argument could be, "oooh make it your fiance!" but it feels a lot more fun to act all passive aggressive, shit-talkin', and generally mythologizing the fiance into a pseudo-battle-axe that I (the hero) need to thwart.
She'd be annoyed if she was aware I wrote about her in such terms.
Fortunately she reads basically nothing but the NY Times and the Economist. So while she's super-informed about the world, she doesn't know her own fiance's evil plans of Empire.

My father would suggest making it the head of my HR department at work so I never post anything awkward or incriminating. That's no fun either.
Vonnegut's first tip on writing is (to paraphrase) make sure you sound like yourself. I am awkward and incriminating. Why should I try and suppress that?
I SHOULDN'T!

Maybe I'm enough of a narcissist to say "I'm writing for ME" and mean it - I could pleasure myself to witty turns of phrase that I steal from ee cummings and the like, and generally be very self satisfied. The flaw here is I'm already an insufferable human being filled with too much pride over tiny accomplishments. Writing for myself could cause my ego to finally reach critical mass, collapse into a black hole, and end the universe quicker than the new super colliders.

At last count there's three people that read this blog, according to comments.
While all three of you are great and have excellent taste in writers, I question your strength of character to hold up to the brutal criticism I've been spreading about all of you behind your backs.
Because eventually, as the Ideal Reader, you will be mercilessly beaten for my lack of success.

Vladimir came into bed at 5:30 AM this morning to play and be petted. If it was Sunday, that's one thing. Monday morning, stealing my last 45 minutes of sleep? I hate him. BUT HE'S SO CUTE! He was flopping his body around on my hand/arm to pet himself, purring like mad and being all affectionate and loving.
It's going to be tough to put him to sleep for waking me up, but there are signs posted all over the house at kitty height indicating the rules.
Some of you (3) are probably saying, "yeah but he probably can't even read English!" That's why the signs are bilingual, dumb-ass.
And if he's completely illiterate, then it's really the parents' fault and not mine.

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