Well, It’s No Gigli

Bat Cat

The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

No one is going to believe in your goddamn thing as much as you believe in your goddamn thing ― Craig D. Williams

 

When I reach my 500-word writing goal in the morning, it feels like I had a really good poo. The rest of the day I feel lighter, I like myself better, and I hate my stupid, stupid job a little bit less.

On days I’m stuck — when I only reach maybe 100 words –I feel stopped-up, irritable and like my stupid job will be my stupid career for stupid, permanent ever.

So it feels nice — to me — when I know THE BOOK is moving along.

But I can’t expect the world to stop spinning because I wrote my word-target today or because I posted another blathering weekly blog post. The world has shit to do. People have worries and concerns of their own.

If you’re going to rely on other people to be excited about your random unfinished project, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. All you have is you, Buddy. Your own blind enthusiasm has to carry you to the finish line.

My wife is the most pro-Craig person I know. She’s been telling me for years I should make some time every day to write. She’s a fan. When I first told her I was starting THE BOOK, she was enthusiastic. Now she doesn’t really ask about it anymore. But that’s not her fault. Why should she? I’ve deliberately kept the details vague and lackluster. For my own protection, I’ve cleverly steered her enthusiasm away from me. It’s been something like 267 days that I’ve been sitting in the dark every morning, covering the laptop screen whenever she walks by, like I’m a baboon protecting a delicious banana. But, for now, it’s my delicious banana. To anyone else, it would look small, green and unchewable. I know that. But I have faith in that unripe banana. It’s really going to be something someday.

And I guess that’s the point of this week’s blog post. What I’m trying to say, despite my overuse of food analogies, is this: Believe in your banana.

If you’re going to create something out of thin, wispy nothingness, even if it ends up being an awful thing in the end, you have to believe in it. Your project, for better or worse, has to be born. And no one, not even the creator of the project, will know if it sucks or shines until it pops out into the light of day to be judged.

Think of all the dreck movies you’ve blown past while wading through Netflix. Someone had to create those dreck movies. Someone believed in the dreck, despite overwhelming odds. A fully engaged and optimistic person wrote the screenplays for Battlefield Earth and for Freddy Got Fingered. Someone thought those were worthwhile projects. Ben Affleck and J.Lo were pretty psyched about Gigli. You know, at first.

There’s an actual movie out in the world called Bat Pussy. I noticed it on a list of the worst movies of all time. Now — someone thought Bat Pussy was worth getting out of bed for every day. A screenwriter slaved over script rewrites for Bat Pussy. Lighting technicians fretted about getting the best possible filtering effects. There were key grips and best boys, prop masters, costume designers and catering — FOR BAT PUSSY.

It wasn’t until audiences saw and reacted to Gigli, Freddy Got Fingered and Bat Pussy, that everyone realized they’d been working very hard on a rather large piece of shit the whole time.

Consequently, the world is full of Giglis. But do know what else people got out of bed to work on every day? Hamlet and Ulysses. John Irving worked, a little bit every day, on one of the best novels of all time: A Prayer for Owen Meany. If someone didn’t care about their thing, we wouldn’t have Lawrence of Arabia, Deadpool, A Tale of Two Cities and those couple-a good Star Wars movies.

So maybe my wife doesn’t ask how the thing is coming along anymore. Maybe my number of blog subscribers has been stuck, for weeks upon weeks, at a sad 18. Perhaps single-digit Likes on my posts are simply a fact of my current reality.

That’s OK. That’s really OK.

I can’t expect the world to stop spinning for my little, unripe banana. The world has shit to do.

I’m the only one who can nurture this little green Chiquita. Someday, when it’s grown, word-by-word, into a real live project, maybe people will be excited by it. I have to believe it’s going to be the new Tale of Two Cities, even if it’s actually the new post-Glitter Mariah Carey vehicle.

When THE BOOK is completed and exposed to the judgy, judgy light of day, then we’ll all know whether it sucks or shines.

Until then, all I have is me, Buddy.

 

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"Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life" - Anne Lamott

"On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft" - Stephen King


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