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 ”Why Do You Write?” 

I’ve gotten this one in interviews in the past. Everything I said there was a lie. Let me answer it truthfully: 

I no longer write for you, to get finger claps in Cafes or “Likes” on Facebook. I no longer write to be understood. I don’t do it for fame for fortune, because who are we kidding? It’s public, but only like flashing your genitals in a subway car is public.

I write to momentarily get rid of myself, to get a little more distance, to intellectualize the gnawing in my stomach or ringing in my ears. I like us all a little better when we’ve been turned to symbols. It’s an Other-ing that makes it all more bearable. Sometimes it can even get us a little high, though those are also the worst times, the benders where the words hurt you the next morning and you’re a stranger to yourself. Then the words are like pans crashing and clattering to the ground, lolling around like Murakami’s kittens, and even more words spill out to enclose that noise with comfortable silence. Signal and noise can flip end over end, but that’s subject for another day. That buzzing in my head is already drowning it all out–

“Memory is like fiction; or else it’s fiction that’s like memory. This really came home to me once I started writing fiction, that memory seemed a kind of fiction, or vice versa. Either way, no matter how hard you try to put everything neatly into shape, the context wanders this way and that, until finally the context isn’t even there anymore. You’re left with this pile of kittens lolling all over one another. Warm with life, hopelessly unstable. And then to put these things out as saleable items, you call them finished products – at times it’s downright embarrassing just to think of it. Honestly, it can make me blush.”
— Haruki Murakami

You’re only a writer when you don’t know why you do it anymore, eventually there’s nothing else but the lie that tells the truth. You’re a writer the way a junky is a junky. It’s got little if nothing to do with anything else. If you’re still talking about “writer’s block” and wordcounts, there might still be hope for you. Turn back. Kick the habit.

I don’t write for you to come with me. We don’t need writing for that.

But since I have your attention, I’ve started working on my new book …

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James Curcio JAMES CURCIO creates dystopian propoganda for a generation of "hedonists, intellectuals, and drug addicts." Rumors of being a key member of a harem of feral lesbians are slightly exaggerated, however much his Bohemian lifestyle may indicate otherwise.

Previous brain-washing agents have taken the form of subversive novels, essays, scripts for comic and films, albums, soundtracks, podcasts, and performances. He works as creative director for Odd Duck Media, LLC.

3 Responses to “But since I have your attention…”

  1. I write for the money. I’m a literary prostitute and proud of it.

  2. JC says:

    No shame in that, so far as I’m concerned. Some people seem to think I’m some kind of literary purist (“I do it for the ART, man”) when really I’m pretty vocal about the fact that when you get down to it, it’s just an addiction. Addictions aren’t all bad, either. They can be insightful, fun, beneficial to other people (just ask fans of all those comedians that are drunk for our amusement.) But let’s not lie about it, yeah? ;)

  3. HEY I’VE GOT AN IDEA — LET’S RIP OFF A SUPER-FAMOUS BUKOWSKI PIECE IN THE MOST OBVIOUS, LOW-RENT MANNER POSSIBLE.

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