January 30th, 2009

Paperback Writer

Song Info (from Beatlesongs):”Paperback Writer” is on the Rubber Soul album and was written mostly by McCartney after helping some friends set up the Indica Bookshop. This was one of the first songs on which Paul played a Rickenbacker bass, and it is emphasized in the song.

We didn’t watch a lot of TV when I was growing up. I remember watching Saturday morning cartoons when I was very young, but it was some time around kindergarten that the decision was made. [Update from my brother: “I believe the TV thing was related to a poor conduct grade on my part. You are welcome to blame me freely.”] I remember being bummed about it at times (like when the kids at school talked about how cool The A-Team was), but for the most part it was fine. I read a lot, so I think it accomplished what it was supposed to.

I mean, I read a lot. I would go to the library any time I could and come home with a stack of books, which I would have read way too quickly. I read all the time. Our babysitter used to have to kick me out of the house to be outside, and when I went, I took books with me. I used to love to read through the encyclopedia, even. I just loved to read.

Somewhere along the line, all that reading made me want to write. I remember writing a story in fourth grade about the Nativity scene from a mouse’s point of view. Then, in eighth grade, I wrote about an elite trio of soldiers who were called back into active duty to rescue an old buddy, and in the process, they blew up Saddam. An interesting four-year interval, to say the least.

In high school I still wrote some short stories (mostly about guys who didn’t get the girls they wanted), but I leaned more in the direction of poetry. At the time, I was convinced I was really representing what it felt like to be a teenager and that some day it would help other people understand what it was like. Reading them now, I see I was right… but not for the reasons I thought I would be. The stuff the poems were about wasn’t the picture, the bad poetry itself was the picture!

I had an English teacher in college who made me fall in love with literature. Somewhere in there I really took to Steinbeck, and he remains my favorite author. I know I liked other authors, but I can’t really remember who. I know I was more in the Hemingway (sparse) camp than the Dickens (wordy!) one.

I lost my appreciation for poetry somewhere in there, too. I used to like Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson just fine, but e e cummings drove me nuts. The more poetry I read, the less I liked. I couldn’t decipher the symbolism, and it got to the point where the fact that there was symbolism irked me. This makes it pretty awkward around my good friend who writes a lot of poetry, as you might imagine. He’s been pretty good about being patient with me and helping me understand stuff, though. I’ll never be a poet, aside from the silly off-the-cuff rhymes I do for the cats, who also don’t seem to appreciate poetry.

I’d like to write – a novel, a short story, a screenplay – but I can’t seem to. I have ideas I can’t put into action. I attempted NaNoWriMo once, and stopped after about two pages. I’ve had a children’s book written in my head for about 5 years now that I haven’t typed out at all. The closest I get to structured writing are my game reviews, and even those I do kind of unstructured-like.

That’s why I blog, I guess. This is my book, spread out over almost six years of entries. It’s disjointed and freeform and all over the map, just like me. I guess I just needed to wait long enough for a form of writing to come along that suited me. If this is all I ever end up writing, I think I’m okay with that.

4 Comments on “Paperback Writer”

  1. Eric says:

    So going back into the memory files makes me recall the first time I ever saw you. We were both at camp and though we never met that year, and wouldn't until years later, you stuck out to me because you were the only kid who did nothing but read. I can remember walking past the cabins and there you were reading a book, "Goonies", if I remember correctly. It is amazing to me that I remember that and that we would later become such close friends.

    I personally like this format of your foray into "book" writing. When one reads all the posts, in the end they can see the complete picture of you.

  2. Meags says:

    I often think about that idea for a children's book that you told me about!

    Also, my favorite poet is Robert Frost. I think his stuff is profound.

  3. the obscure says:

    I think you may have misplaced the modifier "good" in the sentence about your poet friend. Right now it reads as if the friend is good but not necessarily the poetry.

  4. ZiggyTQuirk says:

    Just write a book you brat. Don't make me come over there.

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