Grandpa Wilner used to ask if we wanted to hear a dirty story and when we were young if you said yes the punchline was always “a boy fell in the mud.”
But if you were among the select few, well you heard some stories that weren’t just dirty, they were pretty damn colorful and often funny.
Got a comment from someone who asked today if I ever thought about being a writer or storyteller. Not the first time I have heard it, some of it comes along with the position I play during the day.
I shared the usual piece about having a BA in Journalism and having done some writing here and there.
They asked if I could share something with them so I asked if they wanted to hear a dirty story.
It must have surprised them because they mumbled something about how straight I seem and I told them people describe me as prude and restrained.
They cocked their head to the side because they couldn’t figure out if I was messing with them.
“A boy fell in the mud.”
They made a face and before they could comment I asked “do you want to hear a clean story? He took a bath.”
That got an eye roll and a “you must be a dad.”
“Yeah, that might be the name I am most proud of. You can thank my grandfather for those gems. And by the way, I have a few dirty stories.”
Said the last part deadpan and let them wonder what it meant. I wonder dear reader if you know any of the real stories and if maybe you experienced them. Hell, maybe I’ll write about them…somwhere. ;)”
Anyhoo, have I mentioned that I enjoy the song and the video below? Good stories intrigue me.
What Writing Can You Do?
The conversation about writing generated some follow up questions like “how did you learn to write and what writing can you do?
“Expand upon your question. What does what writing can you do mean?”
“Can you write a book?”
“What kind of book?
“I don’t know. A book people would read.”
“People read lots of different kinds of books. What kind of book are you thinking of?”
“I don’t know. Can you write a book?”
“Can you give me the kind of book you are thinking about?”
“Are you going to answer every question with another question?”
“Are you going to give me any details or am I going to have to fill in the gaps?”
“That is two questions and no answer. Are you going to answer me?”
“What do you think?”
“Now you are aggravating me.”
“Damn, it took that long. I am getting soft in my old age. Do you understand the question you asked?”
I wasn’t trying to be difficult or to mess with them. It was an honest request for specificity. I am sure I can write anything I am motivated to write but there is a big distinction between fiction, autobiographical work and technical writing.
Writing is important to me and I don’t want to produce inferior work. I hate feeling like I pumped out junk that has no flow or rhythm to it. You may like, love or be ambivalent about my content but it never affects me the way my personal feelings about my work does.
There is a musicality and rhythm that I hear in my head that helps me find my way. If I hear the song of my heart I know I am on track and if I don’t it doesn’t feel as good.
I know things. I feel things. I hear things.
If I don’t hit two out of three I’ll probably feel like I missed the mark. Might be good enough, but that rarely satisfies me.
I agree with Robbins. Whatever works, works.
There are better storytellers and more technically precise writers but those who really enjoy my work don’t care because my voice speaks to them.
I expect that is true of all writers and those who read them.
Doesn’t mean that readers won’t find some pieces superior or inferior to others because that is always going to happen.
But if the voice of the writer resonates with you it becomes easy to forgive the things you dislike.
I am in the middle of Dave Grohl’s book The Storyteller and there are moments where I know exactly how he is going to express things.
It reminds me of playing baseball and knowing what pitch was going to cross the plate. Didn’t require a ton of effort to hit it because I was prepared for what was coming.
That is not something I want to see in a book because it takes me out of the story and I start editing the work.
It is not a problem here because I find Grohl interesting and I hear the passion so it is easy to give it a pass.
Wouldn’t surprise me if that happens with some people when they read my stuff. Some might anticipate what I am going to say and how I am going to say it.
Question is whether that works or not for them.
Never know. People are funny.
Got to run, there is a dirty story or two to write.