Let’s talk about how lazy I am.
Every day, without fail, I think about writing. I think about it while I’m at work, I think about it while I’m going for a run, I think about it while I’m reading. I think about it with the same fear and reverence that I imagine inhabits the minds of the devoutly religious. It is, in a sense, a religion for me.
And yet, I come to it with reluctance. Writing is a daily habit for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy or even compulsive. Not so much the act of writing itself—once I’m in the zone, fuggedabout it—but the commitment to sitting down for one or two or three hours and putting words on a page and banging out a story. I have to hype myself up, give myself space, build up the mentality like I’m laying the foundation of a house. Maybe it’s fear of failure, or a sense of incompetence, or just a side-effect of my constantly restless mind.
But I like to think it’s laziness.
It’s the same thing before I go for a run, or write a paper, or meet someone for dinner. I find all of these things fulfilling and enjoyable—but why do them when I could nothing! And so we come to this story, “A Mouthful of Mushies”, which the editors at ElectricSpec have so graciously agreed to publish. Change is hard. Laziness can creep into your life under the guise of habit or routine—I like to run the same five-mile loop four days a week, go for dinner at the same three or four places, and write about the same sorts of people (men) in the same sorts of situations (despair).
See where I’m going with this? You can be active, you can be social, you can go through the routine and the self-hype and sit down and write for two hours every day and still be lazy. If you’re not growing, I feel, you’re being lazy.
And that’s fine. Sometimes you want to be lazy, sometimes it’s good for you to be lazy. But when I handed a friend another story of mine about another dude in another bummer of a situation filled with vague supernatural elements he said, “It’s fine, but why don’t you try something different?”
“What do you mean?” I said.
“I don’t know. Write about women. Something different.”
Ok then. I don’t think “A Mouthful of Mushies” is a great story by any means, but I do think it’s solid. More than that, I’m proud of it. It forced me to try something new, put me in a foreign land, and made me grow. Writing, as much as any other formative influence in my life, has shaped who I am today. But like your parents or your hometown or your life experiences, they shouldn’t limit you. You should grow with them, learn from them.
This story is for Ryan Flynn, who made me a better writer without even realizing it.
Very interesting! Thanks, Evan!
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