Friday, August 19, 2011

Chill Out On Your Interests

I assure you, this post has nothing to do with my previous post, nor does it in any way intend to contradict what I said in it (even though I probably will). I also do not intend to totally contradict the advice given from every writer to every aspiring writer (even though I may be doing that, too).

All I want to do is tell you that you have to chill out on your interests. I understand that we are told that you need to write what you know about. That's fine. Hell, every sane person will tell you to have interests and hobbies and embrace them and all of that, and they're right. But when you get too interested in your interests, you become a lesser person in its presence.

I like music. I like martial arts (I like physical activity in general). I like language. I know a tremendous quantity of information about those subjects. I know so much about them that I would bore any other human being if I talked about all the things I knew about my interests.

The first lesson in learning to chill out on your interests is to shut up sometimes. If people obviously are not resonating with what you're saying, then let it go and give the other person a chance to speak (it's the difference between talking to somebody and talking with them). If it's not obvious whether or not somebody is resonating with your words, then ask them earnestly if they are interested in it or not really.

That whole first lesson was actually just a side-track. It's relevant, but not the reason I'm writing this post. So on to the second lesson.

Ella Johnson's interest is cats. She seriously likes cats, like, a whole lot. She somehow is able to laugh at all sorts of sick, twisted, dark humor without a care in the world. She does not even acknowledge that in a passage written by David Thorne, which she herself was citing verbatim, David infers that he neglected his mother after having a stroke by sending her to a home. And you know why? Because she is way too worked up over him using the same ludicrous and obviously tongue-in-cheek style to talk about neglecting cats.

This is not an entirely uncommon thing. Even to me. When people start talking about my interests incorrectly or in some way insults them, my immediate reaction is to tell the person that they're not funny and need to stop talking and go away. Fortunately, I've grown up enough to suppress that feeling and go with the flow. If you can laugh or simply not get worked up by people talking about people abuse, you don't have the right to get all hot and bothered by the same abusive talk directed at animals.

It's all about being fair. One good turn deserves another. One blind eye deserves another. When you write, be aware of your interests. Make use of your interests. But don't be boring about them. And do not be too serious about them. Nothing is fun if you can't make fun of anything. And if it's not fun, why do it?

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