It seems to me the next thing a writer must overcome is laziness, this is something we all struggle with, to one degree or another, and it is something that carries a very shameful stigma in many (if not all) cultures. I like to hide my laziness behind the guise of fear. If I determine I’m afraid of failure, and that fear keeps me from committing any ideas to a page, then that might be perceived as a more noble roadblock than the fact that I just plain don’t want to sit down in front of a blank page and pound out my thoughts or feelings. The tricky thing is that I possess both fear and laziness and, because these two concepts are not mutually exclusive, it is sometimes hard to determine which emotion is motivating me from moment to moment. So the logical path to take concerning both motivators is to call bullshit on them and push forward…bold words from a lazy coward.
I recently heard a story that was being told by Stephen Tobolowsky about a Zen master and a bully, this story had also been told to him via The Andy Griffith show where-in the Zen master was played by most of Mayberry through Opie Taylor, and the bully was played by a bully. The story goes that a Zen master is traveling down a road and comes across a man who tells the master that he cannot pass unless he determines whether the bird in the man’s closed hand is alive or dead. Opie decides to take a different way home and process the problem through his known and predictable methods of navigating life’s philosophical potholes, he asks Andy. The Zen master in the original story simply tells the man that the bird’s fate was in the hands of the man holding it, and walks on.
One thing that Stephen and I have in common is that the story seems to be missing pertinent information; for Stephen the struggle is “What happened to the bird?”, a question that the story could have answered providing the author thought it was a valid question to answer, my conundrum is more tricky; I wonder, “Am I the bird or the bully?”. That is to say am I a bird being held back by the tyranny of my laziness and fear, or am I the one holding all the cards, and the bird of my thoughts, and waiting for the master to answer so I can determine whether to open my hand and allow the bird to go free, or crush the life out of it to fulfill my own selfish desires. In other words, are my hang-ups nothing more than a simple-minded passive-aggressive form of control over my own mind and creativity?
Hubert Selby Jr said he began his writing career when he had a dream that instilled in him a fear of dying having accomplished nothing; I’d kill for that fear, not really, I don’t even think one could obtain a fear just by committing murder (I’ll look into that), but that fear is superior to my own fear of scrutiny. Although I may not be afraid of scrutiny at all. Perhaps I’m just lazy.