Ethan via

Don’t ask for my opinion on your writing. Really. Don’t. Just don’t. Pretty please, burgers and peas? I don’t want to have lie, I don’t enjoy being mean, and sometimes it’s just too hard looking for something nice to say.

I’m a bit of a Nazi when it comes to reading habits. I don’t always know what I like, but I know it when I find it. If I buy or borrow a book and don’t enjoy it, I feel violent rage at the minutes or hours stolen from my life. I don’t know why, but I just do. It doesn’t sting as much with movies because I can fast forward or eject, but once I start a book, I have to make it to the end. And if it bugs me, I’ll just rip it to shreds right after. Temper temper blah blah blah.

So if your writing comes to me, or I bump into it, or if I ferret gold nuggets out, I’ll talk about it gladly, but please don’t ask. Just dangle it in front of my nose so I can see it or something, no verbal requests. At best, they make me uncomfortable, and at worst, they just annoy me.

Also, don’t try to bribe me into giving a critique. It makes me feel stupid, and I don’t like feeling stupid. This isn’t aimed at anyone in particular. It’s just PMS and me throwing a b*tchfit, so feel free to ignore me. I write for a living, and I edit a lot too, so I get lots of requests like, ‘Please look at my work, please give me your honest opinion.’

Trust me hun, you don’t want my honest opinion. Really, you don’t.

Thing is … when I find something that I like, I lavish so much praise that the recipient thinks I’m lying. More than once, I’ve been accused of flattery when I can barely spell the word. Ironic, no? Plus, I have eclectic taste. I don’t really – I’m actually quite rigid and narrow minded. I can barely handle anything but Rock. But eclectic sounds better than ‘weird’. Point is, I often like what other people don’t, so I don’t think that my opinion counts for much. And if it does …well … it shouldn’t. Why would you ask for the opinion of someone who didn’t even get Inception?

Image by © Burke/Triolo Productions/Brand X/Corbis

A few days ago, I got a friend request on Facebook. It came with a note attached. It said:

‘Hi. How do I win the BBC Playwriting competition?’

Well, actually, what it said was:

no 1 how are you? Two i hope that your 2011 is off to a new start. Three what did you do to win this competition . I can do it and win also.

I replied, ‘You write.’

Of course I didn’t say it like that but that’s what I was thinking. I wish I had some Holy Grail or Mountain Oracle or Nuggets of Wisdom, but there isn’t any secret formula, because if there was, I’d have used it. £800 is a lot of money!

Moving on. I’ve spent the last few hours reading every single post on this blog, and I loved every minute it. Some posts touched me more than others, and I’m sure that I commented almost everywhere, though I still have no clue what exactly We Were Four is. I’m sure that I don’t know the guy, but I won’t try to prove it. I’ve learnt that fishing out people’s identity rarely ends well. Sometimes it’s best to let people be anonymous.

As I look through blogs, I notice that many writers address me directly. Well not me – you – the reader. The writer realises – consciously – that they’re writing for an audience, and I suppose that makes them popular. Me, I write because I want to. I’m big on self-pleasure and I type whatever comes to mind. Of course I’d like people to read. I’d like to open their hearts and touch their minds, and I enjoy comments as much as anyone. But honestly, I mostly write for me. It’s the one area in my life where I am selfish.

I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or not.

Of course, I also write for money, because the bills have to be paid. But the writing I enjoy the most is the kind I do for love, the kind I do because something needs to be said. Which means, I suppose, that I’m writing because someone needs to hear it. I just don’t know who that someone is yet. Way to shatter my so-called self-indulgence.

I just read a tweet by @Nicollete3026. She says, “Always behave as if nothing had happened no matter what has happened.” I envy people who can live like that, who can hide behind a shell of constant, impassive smiles. I’d love to not wear my heart on my sleeve. But I think if I did that, I’d die a little. I’d probably explode from the inside [implode just isn’t strong enough] and I would crumble from the words I couldn’t say or the faces I couldn’t pull. Or maybe I’d just quietly kill someone. *shrug*

Goodnight World.

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