Tuesday, March 6, 2018

"Messing With A Mystery"

Ken Levine, of bykenlevine renown, has graciously invited me to appear on one of his upcoming podcasts. 

Which is flattering.

And exciting.

And, I believe, there is a free lunch involved.

So it’s good.

Except that I am viscerally reluctant to talk about what I do.

Which is a problem, because what else would he want me to do on his podcast?


That would be great.  But seemingly unlikely.

Here’s a secret.  I may have mentioned it before.  Which makes it no less of a secret, only a frequently repeated secret.  Of course, if I frequently repeat it, how much of a secret can it actually be?

Thank you for taking that little trip to nowhere with me.

Here’s the thing.

Most of the time, I have little to no idea what I am doing here, by which I do not mean what I am doing on this planet, which is also a mystery, I mean what I am doing in this particular exercise, though the opaqueness speaks equally to writing in general.    

Five days a week, I write blog posts.  And – no false modesty – I truly do not know where they are coming from.  Or how they evolve into publishable posts.  Yes, there is some “experienced writing ability” involved.  But mostly, the process happens mysteriously without me.

Here’s the thing.

I have a pile of jotted-down “notions” messily stacked on top of my (newly invigorating “Stand-Up”) desk.  Some of them work out.  Others, I eventually throw away, with an exasperated, “What exactly was I thinking when I scribbled these notes?”

Many ideas just sit there, sometimes for months, suffering the precarious limbo between “Top of my (‘Stand-Up’) desk” and the wastebasket.  With these, though I am unclear on how to successfully execute them, I maintain a “McCawber”-like hope that something, eventually, will turn up.

The thing is, as with where the original ideas come from, when the way to successfully “lay it out” ultimately materializes, I am entirely clueless as to its generating origin.

I am also amazed.  The most exhilarating thing about writing is surprising yourself, which is realizable only if that surprise is not emanating from you.  At least, not the conscious you, which sits there passively, a passenger, waiting for a bus.

I assure you, it’s not me – at least not entirely me – doing this stuff.

Who exactly is my “collaborator”?

I have no idea.

But whoever it is,

Thank you.

The thing is – a third time, though I would have to go back and count and I don’t feel like it –

Since what I regularly receive from “outside” bears similarities to a gift, like with the head honcho “Coffisto” who inexplicably gives me “VIP Treatment” at Groundwork Coffee Emporium – today, for no apparent reason, he knocked seventy-five cents off my “Venice Blend ‘Pour-Over’” – I have no fathomable understanding of how it started, and no control over an abrupt “Cut-off.”

As such, I feel, generically, out of control.

Since “It’s not (essentially) me, it’s “Them” – and I want to continue doing this – I live life, fearful of angrying the beneficent “writing gods.” 

I inadvertently take undue credit, and it’s, like,

“You think it’s you?  Well watch this!

And it’s blogatorial “Game Over.” 

Possibly forever.

My “protective position”, therefore, is to let things naturally unfold, remaining abstemiously “Shtum” (silent), to the point  where I am leery of telling anyone to check out my blog, worried my egoish “self-promotion” triggers a crippling backlash.

You would think after ten years of blog writing, I would have developed some confidence.  I have confidence.  But only about the past.  When it comes to the future? 

“I would rather not talk about it.”

Leading to the problem…

What am I going to say on the podcast? 

And why risk saying anything at all?

I don’t know, maybe I’m just afraid I am going to be boring.

But, you know… just like I do not know what to write about and how specifically to write about it – until I do – maybe what to say on the podcast will just… miraculously come to me.

Maybe I’ll surprise myself, and say something worthwhile.

I hope so.

The guy’s paying for my lunch.


Tom said...

Where do your blog ideas come from? An example from your previous post: You observed a movie star and her non-so-attractive waitress. In my experience, a personal experience or a concept on the media triggers a reaction, and from that thought an essay is born.

JED said...

My guess is that when you and Ken Levine get together for the podcast (whether you get together in the same physical room or if you're just "together" over the phone or some other virtual "there" device), he will not turn to you and say, "Why did you come here and what do you have to say for yourself?"

What he will probably do is prompt you for things to talk about. Based on other Hollywood and Levine podcasts I've listened to, Ken will probably ask a lot of questions. He will interview you. He likes you as much as we readers of Earl Pomerantz: Just Thinking... do. He (and we) want you to succeed.

Ken has not asked me to be on his podcast and he is smart - I am not entertaining. I am not funny (in spite of how hard I try to be). And the big reason is, nobody knows who I am. You, on the other hand, are entertaining, funny and a well known and awarded television writer. You have insights into the entertainment industry, writing and the human condition. Now, you get in there and talk with your friend and make us proud.