It’s no secret that I’ve been slacking. Actually I’ve become pretty good at it. I get into this routine of talking myself out of buckling down and writing some shit (and I mean shit, literally). Honestly, I’m trying to talk myself out of writing this as my fingers type away. The bed is calling me. I need to take a shower. What’s on Twitter? I’m fighting hard against the urge to put this off until tomorrow as usual. But, no I won’t.
What follows is an e-mail I wrote to myself (and for whatever reason sent to both my wife and my pal Greg Hayhurst) back on September 8th. It was part frustration and part desperation. I’m frustrated that I keep letting stories fester and slowly die in my head without so much as a bad first draft to show for it. I’m desperate to make a solid change that’ll get my ass in gear. I thought that a little tough love from myself would help. Maybe. I mean, here I am. Writing. Even just a little bit.
It’s hard to tell if it’ll stick this time. If this was the right kick in the pants at the right time for me. But, I do know that spontaneously sending it to Greg helped him. He told me the next day that he had been stuck on a scene for a screenplay he’s working on, and that my letter had hit in at the right time and he pumped out three pages right afterward.
So, with that piece of evidence I decided to share my little letter with you as well. It isn’t much, but it could be enough. Here’s to hoping that this helps both me and you, and here’s to hoping you’ll hear more from me soon. If not, then I guess I just gave up for good. Or worse, I was buried under a mountain of Elvis stamps at the post office. Either way, I won’t be too happy about it.
From the cellphone of Marlon L. Brumage II
September 8, 2016
What are you doing? Rhetorical question. You’re laying in your undies in bed, making up excuses as to why you haven’t written yet. You’re tired. You have to work. Blah, blah, blah. You’ll never get better by making excuses.
Here’s the thick and thin of it. You aren’t getting any younger, and you sure aren’t getting prettier (sorry, but Wine’s Disease* isn’t real). You don’t have anything to lose. You have your spouse (me-yow, amirite?) and you have your kids (how’d something so pretty come from you?). All you need now is your career.
Does the postal service hold your future? Please! You can’t even get retirement, healthcare, or a flex spending plan. Let alone move up within the company. You’re stuck, bro, and you know it. So why don’t you make forth with a career that you want? Why don’t you try to make a living telling stories or creating worlds. What’s one of your favorite things to do? It’s pretending to be someone else. Why don’t you go do that?
You sell yourself short, kid. For real. If you try it, you can do it. You’ve done it. But, you just don’t keep doing it. We’ve been over this and over this and over this. There aren’t too many more pep talks I can give you. Either you shit or gtfo, get it?
Some of your ideas are already a reality, thanks to other people. You wait too long and all of them will be gone. Get at it, man. Your writing can’t be any worse than some of the garbage floating around out there. And the critics? Fuck ’em. If they can do better, they should. You can’t please them all and the moment you stop trying to please them and just worry about yourself, that’s when you’ll be ready to put pen to paper.
Always your humble vaudevillian,
* “Wine’s Disease” is a medical disorder in which the sufferer gets better looking as he / she ages (examples: Jessica Lang, Tim McGraw, and Marlon Leroy Brumage II). Despite the lack of scientific evidence, Wine’s Disease sufferers could range in the tens of thousands. This disorder is known to be fatal.