A Typical if Hopeful Conversation about Writing Between a Man and a Woman

“The only way to write is to be in complete isolation with whiskey in one hand, a cigarette in the other and there’s nothing to do but see how hard I can press my fingers against the keys and fill the white blank page with words.”

“God, you are so refreshingly naïve. I think you should go to a writers’ school. It might help with your writer’s block.”

“Who said I had a writer’s block?”

“You did, last night. When we were smoking on your porch.”

“Oh right, yeah. Well I wouldn’t be a true writer if I didn’t have writer’s block.”

“That is the dumbest thing you’ve said today. You wouldn’t be a true writer if you didn’t write. Which you don’t seem to be doing.”

“What do you know? You only write screenplays.”

“I write scripts. And they’re actually being published or produced or whatever. Not that it matters. It’s not a competition, you know.”

There was a moment of silence where the tides turned.

“I’m sorry. I just find it really hard to not be—an asshole … when it comes to writing or literature or music.”

She listened.

“I think, deep down, I’m a good person though. Like it’s all a façade. To protect me or whatever. To seem unbreakable. To impress you. To be exciting. To be sexy. To be strong and witty and humble. And I’d love to be all that. To spell out a perfect rhyme that attracts you—to me. But I know it’s all … untrue. Right? I don’t know if it’s my fault. It feels as though being sincere is almost impossible. It’s like, there’s no point standing up and reading a poem anymore if there isn’t some joke at the beginning that draws the audience in just so I can reveal something true about myself later on, in subtle ways. Even right now I’m increasingly nervous that I’m being too vulnerable, too cliché and trite—and that these words will just pass through you and mean nothing.”

“I think who you are on the outside is still … you. Just because it comes from a place of insecurity, doesn’t make it okay.”

I looked up at her and licked the paper and lit.

“But you should know, you’re in a good position to own your own decisions. You’re young. And you’re not as dumb as you look.”

“Thanks …”

“I’m not trying to be mean. You’re really fortunate to have so many opportunities ahead of you. Why does every white guy I meet have to be so self-absorbed about their sadness? I mean, whatever you’re feeling is valid but stop letting it cripple you. Be trite, be true, be whatever it means to be you.”

“Can I kiss you?”

“Stop trying to shut me up and listen for once.”

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One Comments

  • Joel Adler

    April 6, 2017

    Truly made me giggle and consider my own insecurities – which aren’t an excuse for being an asshole. Thanks for sharing!


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