The first Creative Writing assignment was to describe “What Makes a Good Writer?” I began to write and a dialogue started to form…
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Haul Ass to Lollapalooza
They had a few minutes to kill.
He noticed that one of the magazines in the rack had the title “What Makes a Good Writer?”
“What makes a good writer?” he questioned aloud. His thick English accent made the clerk take notice as he stocked the cooler.
The blonde girl wasn’t looking at the magazine rack. She was calmly looking toward the cashier on the other side of the store.
“What do you mean?” she replied, as she slowly turned towards him. Her head was cocked to one side as she licked the straw sticking out of her can of Fresca. “Like what makes you good, or more like what makes you a writer and not a hack?”
He pondered the question. “I think both,” he slowly replied. “Isn’t being a good writer a little bit of each?” Like you have to be able to write well, you know technically, but you also have to be able to be honest and true to your creative self. You know, you have to tap into the creative element inside you. That’s important!”
“What do you mean?” she said inquisitively.
“Well it’s like you want to be successful as a writer, but you need to be true to yourself and you don’t want to be formulaic. You need to be personal and show what’s inside you.” He pondered a bit, “But you still want to be successful. So I guess your style can’t be too out there. I guess you still have to be somewhat mainstream in your style.”
She slowly took a sip from her drink. Afterward, the tip of straw remained on her lips. Now she was paying closer attention to what he had to say.
“To me a HACK is someone who writes by formula,” he continued to expound, but all the while he was paying close attention to the clerk who was now at the end of the aisle. “Someone maybe like Truman Capote who wrote so many great crime novels, but they were all written using a similar formula. Don’t get me wrong, Capote was very successful but I don’t think you necessarily need to follow a formula.”
She smiled, “Didn’t Capote bash Jack Kerouac?”
“I think he did,” he chuckled. “Capote said that Kerouac’s style wasn’t writing, it was just typing.”
She giggled, “Why do you think he said that?”
He thought about it. “I don’t know, I guess he didn’t understand what Kerouac was trying to accomplish. You have to remember that Kerouac was doing something unique, writing in a long meandering style that was more about entrancing the reader in the tale of a couple of hitchhikers. Just like being on the road the style is wandering and somewhat rhythmic. It’s certainly not of the form that Capote wanted to use. Capote just didn’t like it. Meanwhile Kerouac was probably just having a good time, being himself and writing in style that he liked. He was being creative and enjoying himself while doing it.”
“He enjoyed being creative!” she exclaimed.
“Exactly! That’s precisely what it’s all about. A good writer is the one who can get pleasure by expressing himself creatively.” He had just answered his own question.
“So you think Kerouac was just having a good old time,” she said gradually as she slowly moved real close to him. “Didn’t he die of alcohol poisoning?” She was now standing about two inches away.
He looked directly into her pale blue eyes. “Yes, he did,” he said softly. “I guess, another answer to the question of what makes a good writer might be ‘liquor’.”
She smiled. Then she came even closer and whispered into his ear, “I love you pumpkin.”
He nuzzled her cheek. “I love you honey-bunny. Now, you shoot the clerk and I’ll grab the cash, and then we’ll haul ass to Lollapalooza.”