Antisociology 1

“Writing is easy. You only need to stare at a piece of blank paper until your forehead bleeds.” — Douglas Adams

Writers write about people. Sure, the main subject may be a time machine or a dragon or Siberia, but first and foremost, they write about people. In order to write about people, they must know people, meet people, talk to people. They must learn people. In addition to being a student of their craft, they must be a student of the culture, and maybe of all cultures.

Writing is solitary. Writers can’t talk to others, can’t be disturbed, can’t work in groups. Sure, editing can be done in groups, but the actual work of writing must be done in a closed room, in a cell, pulling each word out after the other and spilling blood on the page. If a writer is in a room with other people, or a bar, or a coffeeshop, or on top of the Washington Monument, he must still be alone. Barriers go up when the notebook comes out. She can’t talk to anyone around her while she pushes the words out of her pen. Nothing can exist during the writing… if something else exists, the writing stops.

And herein lies the problem we face:  We have to be with people to write but we can’t write when we’re with people.

Grab a coffee. It’s going to be a long day.

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