The often misunderstood connection between creativity and filmy panties

Writing is a process that involves supposition, and supposition, unless you’ve really read the signs correctly, hardly ever works.

It’s a bit like the man who buys his wife a diaphanous and sexy negligee or a pair of filmy ‘FM’ panties, and says to himself: “She’ll love these. And I’ll get so much action my head will swim.” No she won’t. The point is, he loves them and has developed nasty li’l fantasies around them. She is happiest in her flannel jammies and great big granny pants. And that is her right. Sigh.

Writing is a bit like that. It’s based on speculation and expectation of a desirable outcome. So, I can write something — and I did this for years as a columnist — in which I would convince myself, this is really, really good and the readers will be dazzled. But, like my metaphorical wife example and the teeny panties, that’s as maybe. The point is, I like the piece, but how dare I presuppose?

Well, at one level I have to presuppose because I couldn’t get a word down otherwise. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be hideously disappointment and develop a resentment that will make me want to level a city block.

In the day I wrote columns that I was convinced were virtually Pulitzer material yet I’d receive no response whatsoever about them, even from colleagues. I was given to going around the newsroom asking: “What’d ya think of the column? Tell me. Didya like it? Didya-didya-didya?” Only to receive such comments as: “Oh, I must have missed that one. I’ll check it out later,” or “Interesting idea,” or “I found it a bit confusing, but that’s just me.”

I also wrote other columns when I was overtired, hungover (back then), suffering marital woes (regularly back then), rapturously in love (too often for my own good), anxious, depressed, bitter, lethargic and lazy, that were utter throwaway crap and had only been crashed off to meet a deadline.

And disconcertingly often readers loved those ones. I was told how funny they were, thought-provoking, at the top of my form, etc. etc. I would get phone calls about them, and letters to the editor. I would be invited to speak at clubs and organizations because of them, and even won awards due to them.

I was egocentric enough that such responses were invariably welcomed, yet I always wondered why I didn’t get such responses to my self-conceived ‘good ones.’

Blogging is a bit the same. I can labor over a blog that I think is an utter gem of the genre, and receive little or even zero response. I can write what I think are silly throwaways and I’ll get 20-plus comments.

Other bloggers I know and respect have expressed the same sentiments. Indeed, one blogger has suggested he is going to start scrapping people from his blogroll who do not respond. Personally, I think this is vain and childish. Essentially, you write your blog to hone your own skills, not to win unfettered praise. If you get some, then that’s a bonus. Yet, it’s his blog, and he is entitled. I’ll still read him and make comment because I often like what he has to say.

Anyway, there is no figuring the tastes of the reading public, which is why trashy potboilers do well, and works of literature are, well, works of literature that everybody ‘means’ to read but doesn’t quite get around to it.

So, no answers here. Maybe I should buy some panties as a diversion.




9 responses to “The often misunderstood connection between creativity and filmy panties

  1. So, I hesitate to ask, but is this a gem or a throwaway? :-p

  2. Explains Mills and Boon…

    • Indeed. Yet, I know a woman who wrote a novel for Harlequin (affiliated with M&B) and she, an accomplished writer, found it devastatingly difficult to write for their bodice-ripping formula. She did, eventually, get it published.

  3. Damn, I came here with my well thought out comment to your last post and here is a new post. So, let’s say that timing can be a big factor. Orson Welles’ big follow of Citizen Kane was The Magnificent Ambersons. It’s about a wealthy Indiana family at the turn of the century that is losing their fortune. It was released just after America started preparing for World War II and people had no interest at all in it’s subject matter. Yes, sometimes it can be that people are generally lowbrow, but sometimes it can be all about timing.

    • Oh, I agree that it is about the timing. Interesting comment about the Magnificent Ambersons. A great story and the Welles’ film was ruthlessly cut and it’s impossible to find an unedited (slashed) version. I’ve seen it and liked even the hacked version thoroughly.

  4. There were a pair of underwear in my ex-wife’s drawer which were very enticing indeed. She wore them a lot when we first met, and then gradually over the years they were tucked away at the back of the underwear drawer. When putting the clothes washing away, I would find them, and put them up at the front of the drawer hoping that they would be worn, but alas, the next time I put the clothes washing away, there they were tucked at the back of the drawer again, I would always move them up to the front and they would always move again to the back. Not really an analogy for Blogging, but certainly relates to your purchased underwear endeavors.

  5. I’ve found the same with my songwriting. The songs I write and decide are my best songs ever usually tank. The ones I think are way too “me-specific” for anyone else to get at all are the ones people gravitate to. You never can tell…

    • I’m sure that’s true with any creative endeavor, Alyssa. We set high standards for ourselves and my standard even with blogging is influenced by my many years as a newspaper columnist, and yours would be by your musical talents which have been widely proved. Yeah — Keith Richards says in his book how much he hated ‘Satisfaction’ but that was the song that made the world take notice.

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