Writing: It Just Has to Be Mine
Someone asked me today why I created a website for a comedian who’s been dead for more than sixty-five years (click HERE). My first thought was to laugh at the absurdity of the idea myself. But then some thoughts from Raymond Chandler (crime novelist and creator of Phillip Marlowe) came to mind…thoughts I’d come across in Larry Gelbart’s memoir “Laughing Matters” a few years ago.
Chandler, like so many writers of his generation, had come to Hollywood to write screenplays (he wrote The Blue Dahlia in 1946, and worked with Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchcock on Double Indemnity and Strangers on a Train, respectively). But — also like so many of his generation — it was a vastly unsatisfying experience. Here’s why he gave up on the screenwriting game:
“I’m a writer, and there comes a time when that which I write has to belong to me, has to be written alone and in silence, with no one looking over my shoulder, no one telling me a better way to write it. It doesn’t have to be great writing, it doesn’t have to be terribly good. It just has to be mine.”
I don’t pretend to have Chandler’s skill, and I’m certainly not giving up on writing screenplays (which cease to be yours only when somebody BUYS them, a situation I’ve not been challenged with to date). But, on a much smaller scale, if I’m the only one who ever reads my blog posts, I have to be OK with that. A writer wants to be read, but the writing is (for me, at least) half the pleasure. At the end of the day, it may not be great, it may not be good, but I know the work is mine.
And that’s nice work, if you can get it.