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12/29/2009
WHEN INCOHERENCE STRIKES
CATEGORY: Blogging

I just deleted 1000 words of a blog post on terrorism and the Obama administration. The reason is simple; it was crap.

First of all, it was a crappy subject. In fact, any subject lately that requires a touch of nuance in understanding has been a waste of time in writing. To say that Obama is doing some good things in the fight against terror and some not so good things may be close to the truth but who wants to hear that?

Secondly, it was crappy thinking. I tried to draw a parallel between Obama’s policy and “Sitzkrieg” in World War II. Not even close. To say I tortured logic in trying to connect the two is an understatement. The connection is more in attitude than action which is difficult to quantify and impossible to expose.

Third, it was crappy writing. I’ve already forgotten everything I wrote so I can’t even quote from it. Suffice it say, it was brutally inane and without any of my usually redeeming snark.

Finally, I couldn’t end the piece. It just kept going and going like the Energizer Bunny as I desperately looked for the off switch. I couldn’t sum anything up because I didn’t really say anything.

I suppose I could blame all of this on my illness. But some of my best stuff was written when I crawled out of a sickbed to write, skewering someone or other for this or that with invective that would have made Tom Paine wince. Or perhaps I could point the finger at holiday ennui, where I could really give a good goddamn about anything or anyone. That excuse too, falls flat when I look at past years and see some mighty tasty writing between Christmas and New Year’s.

I am going to chalk this up to something that hits every writer - some more frequently than others.

Simple, unmanageable, incoherence.

There are days when I can get up and polish off 1500 words in an hour, effortlessly segueing from topic to topic, my thoughts pouring out organized like dominoes all in a row; elegant, logical, powerful, and eminently readable.

And then there are days like today.

To quote the great Chief Dan George from Little Big Man; “Sometimes the magic works. And sometimes it doesn’t.” Today, Houdini wouldn’t have been able to transpose my gibberish into something acceptable that I would put on this site.

You all should thank me that I had the perspicacity to spare you the ordeal of having to read something so awful. Tips are accepted and you can find the Paypal button below the comment box if you feel inclined to express in a more tangible manner what I’m sure is your overflowing gratitude.

Rick Moran
Proprietor

By: Rick Moran at 12:16 pm
13 Responses to “WHEN INCOHERENCE STRIKES”
  1. 1
    JerryS Said:
    12:33 pm 

    Sorry Rick, but you should have done the same to the tirade below.

    It’s not up to your usual standards.

    I say it with love.

  2. 2
    michael reynolds Said:
    12:36 pm 

    I feel your pain. 450 pages into a manuscript that will reach about 550, round numbers. In the process I’ve thrown out 50 pages: plot lines that didn’t work, characters I didn’t like, scenes that read like such shit I began to wonder if I still know how to do my job.

    Whatever I eventually send to my editor will be painstakingly picked apart. Then, when it’s published I have the regular critics. Then all the bloggers and the people on Amazon and BN and Goodreads. It seems I am both great at character and suck at character, a master plotter and an incompetent fool, deep and shallow, brilliant and mediocre.

    If you don’t occasionally read your own stuff and begin to fantasize about Scotch and sleeping pills you’re not a writer.

  3. 3
    Aaron Said:
    1:48 pm 

    Even your piece about not having anything to write about is more interesting than a lot of the stuff out there. Get well.

  4. 4
    smitty Said:
    1:57 pm 

    Mr. Moran, sir:
    It would be a better world if more (for example, Smitty) would take your self-reflection to heart.
    Cheers,
    Chris

  5. 5
    Jim Said:
    4:05 pm 

    Secondly, it was crappy thinking. I tried to draw a parallel between Obama’s policy and “Sitzkrieg” in World War II. Not even close. To say I tortured logic in trying to connect the two is an understatement. The connection is more in attitude than action which is difficult to quantify and impossible to expose.

    Hi Rick:

    I believe I understand where you were tempted to take that; I also see several of the dilemmas. The last sentence of the paragraph is intriguing. Were you suggesting that the French and British lacked the nerve to start the next phase of the war? And were you comparing that to our present situation? Or were you suggesting that the Allies became even more acutely aware of their military unpreparedness and the ways in which their actions were constrained by reality?

    I am hoping you are feeling better and glad that your inner judgment stills drops the hammer on material you don’t wish to have represent you.

    But the tease is effective and sets me to thinking….

  6. 6
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    6:37 pm 

    Michael Reynolds said:

    If you don’t occasionally read your own stuff and begin to fantasize about Scotch and sleeping pills you’re not a writer.

    I’m a writer! Rick would never believe me though.

  7. 7
    Surabaya Stew Said:
    11:27 pm 

    All of us have our bad writings days, but few are honest enough to own up them.

  8. 8
    mannning Said:
    11:59 am 

    I should have done the same thing with a few recent comments of mine that were, obviously, less than precise. You know what you are trying to get across, but somehow the right slant or words fail to convey the thoughts properly, and a quick reread doesn’t detect the flaws either, apparently, since your own thought trail remains flawed for the moment. A cascade of explications doesn’t cure the problem, and they become very frustrating to submit again and again. Your solution is the preferred one, but the re-re-read must be sufficiently objective to be successful. This is why most writers let a piece “cook” for a reasonable time before proceeding with it.

    There ought to be an erase button for commenters to use! Is that possible? Would you accept requests for deletion?

  9. 9
    michael reynolds Said:
    12:25 pm 

    Mannning:

    My obsessive compulsive son just asks to “start over” when things go awry.

    How about if we all do a start over for New Years? Amnesty and extended handshakes and all that. Grudges forgotten, clean slate, glasses raised to a good 2010.

  10. 10
    Eric Lindholm Said:
    3:00 pm 

    I’m reminded of the adage: “Writing is re-writing.” And sometimes it means just throwing the whole damn thing out.

  11. 11
    mannning Said:
    3:15 pm 

    MR, you are on! Full glass raised here. Happy New Year to all.

  12. 12
    JerryS Said:
    9:13 am 

    Rick -

    How about an essay on how the Right is criticizing Obama for things they never criticized Bush for - even with the circumstances were much worse?

    1. Criticizing him for his lack of response for 3 days after the attempted terrorist attack on flight 253. Bush took six days to address the Richard Reid case, and wasn’t even asked about it directly during his press conference.

    2. Criticizing him for choosing to try the terrorist in a civilian court, exactly like Richard Reid, which Bush tried in a civilian court.

    Hmmm…..

  13. 13
    mannning Said:
    3:44 pm 

    in response to Jerry #12, I am personally fed up with continual back and forth comparisons between Bush and Obama. It seems to me to be far more fruitful to compare any President with some more objective, idealized standard of behavior, such as: is the President–Obama, for instance— doing his job to protect, preserve, and lead the nation adequately now, or not.

    In my judgement, he is not, so far, and he seems to be digging himself deeper and deeper into the hole. His czars and appointees are not performing very well at all against any objective measure I can think of, and the one score against him that is most telling and impossible to miss is the size and growth of the national debt. He appears to be doing an excellent job of filling the pockets of odd groups in the nation with cash, but the real employment rate has grown to about 17% according to some economists. I will not even bring up the chaos in foreign relations.

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