"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds..." Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Wile E. Coyote, Supergenius. I like the way it rolls out. Wile E. Coyote, Supergenius." Wile E. Coyote
Sometimes you just have to scrape them off the windshield.
The ones who shuffle mindlessly down the street with nowhere particular to go and the only word they can spell correctly is "hungry."
But they should have seen it coming. This reporter saw it coming. Writer's rear ends are getting much larger.
They drank the witch's brew, the one labeled "I don't have to leave this chair. Google will save me." So now they wander the literary streets wondering why their writing doesn't ring true. Doesn't sound authentic. Sounds kind of like it was made up. Actually, it was made up.
Worse yet, Hemingway was right. People that never leave their writer's chairs get kind of big on the back end.
"This is great," one zombie-ized writer told me. "I can write stories that happen anywhere in the world. I don't have to travel, I just use Google Earth."
She asked to remain anonymous, so I'm leaving her name out of this interview so I can blackmail her later. I mean use it to advantage later. I hope she doesn't read this.
"But do you truly get a feel for that country?" I asked. "Enough for your reader's to trust you? To allow you the convincing narrative authority enabling them to suspend their disbelief and enter completely into your story? And do you have to keep eating Doritos while we talk? Don't they have a million calories per bag?"
She twirled a wild lock of red hair and smiled.
"Honey, most of my readers watch Keeping up with the Kardashians. The rest of them actually don't believe Dancing with the Stars is rigged. And I can eat all the Doritos I want, dear. I just ordered the Brazilian Butt Makeover so calories don't count. It said so on the infomercial."
"You don't seem to like your readers," I observed. "You get all the information in your books from Google and infomercials. Is that why you have a Ginsu knife as the murder weapon in one of your murder mysteries?"
"I love my readers. My readers worship me."
"But you don't really go out and experience life so that you have something to share with them. How can they trust you with matters of emotional truth if you don't really have a life? You never seem to leave your computer chair. Aren't you just recycling third party information? Why don't you get up from your chair and see and smell the towns you're writing about and talk to the people you're writing about?"
She actually recoiled in her chair. I felt terrible. Clearly I'd reminded her of past experiences, where she actually saw her friends instead of Facebooked them. Times when she actually walked city streets to know what they were like. Those were the days when she knew the nuantial difference between the word "mean" as it was used in "mean city streets" and as a participating adjective in the movie title "Mean Girls."
I was about to apologize when I saw her on Facebook cutting and pasting conversations.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Collecting dialogue for my next book," she said vaguely.
"You don't write your own dialogue? You cut and paste it from Facebook conversations? You have no feelings, no writer's heart. You can't write about reality," I screamed, "if your only reality comes from a computer monitor. Dialogue should come from your created character's heart!"
Without looking up she said, "You get some good dialogue off of Twitter sometimes, but you've got to really look hard."
I left the interview with a journalistic epiphany- when zombie-ized writers throw themselves against the windshield of your life, this journalist says to just keep driving.