Gut Rumbles

December 20, 2004


I think I wrote my first short story when I was six years old. That story needed serious editing, and something other than crayon to really get my point across, but looking back now, I realize that it wasn't bad for a six year-old boy.

I've been writing ever since, and I DON'T KNOW WHY.

Words just bubble up in me. They always have. If I try to explain the way I think to other people, even those who KNOW me well, they just shake their heads and say, "You've ALWAYS been weird." Am I? Really?

When Catfish and I were riding around lost in north Georgia, I started looking at all the farmhouses and abandoned outbuildings on those rolling fields, and I thought of DOZENS of stories that I could tell about them. When I mentioned that fact to him, Cat replied, "I'd rather you found a road back to Savannah. You can write later."

No, I CAN'T "write later."

That shit goes on in my mind all the time whether I put it on paper or not. One of the biggest disappointments in my life was when I wrote a humor column for the Effingham County Herald, which was so popular that it then was published in three sister newspapers all over southeast Georgia. I was proud of accomplishing that feat, but my BC ex-wife never read ANYTHING I wrote. She didn't care whether I was any good or not. The entire activity seemed ridiculous to her. I wasn't becoming rich and powerful from doing it, so what good was it? That's the way she STILL looks at life. I don't.

I was fired from that job for being politically incorrect (can you imagine THAT?) and the publisher fired the EDITOR, too. Jennifer told me that I got what I deserved. "Rob, you should write what people want to read, not what you want to write."

I pondered that statement for a long time. WTF kind of advice is THAT? I never know WHAT I want to write until it comes out on the page. If I had a dollar for everything I've written that NEVER saw another set of eyes, I would be a rich man today. If you don't write, you'll never understand what I mean.

I write for one reason and one reason only: I WANT to.


you're not alone. the same stuff goes on in my head. If I'm at a cool place, thousands of plot ideas run through my head. I figure, if enough of them are about roughly the same thing, I can fit them together for a good story. if not, failed attemps.

Posted by: Gil-galad on December 21, 2004 12:02 AM

Hey Rob, how about posting your old humor columns? I bet they are a hoot to read.

Posted by: John Cunningham on December 21, 2004 01:48 AM

I have that problem too, have to write what I want. It bothered me at first that I was the only one reading it, but i don't care anymore. It satisfies a deep need and I've learned a lot while doing it. All the various articles I've read about writing tell you to write what you know and to write first of all what you want to read.

Posted by: Aquila on December 22, 2004 04:28 AM
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