I’m neither a hateful, nor an angry person (so say I), yet I’m coming to the conclusion that a good part of my engine, as a writer, has been designed to be fuelled by anger. Hate, naturally produces an abundance of anger (along with other by-products), yet around fifteen years ago, while still not hateful, I certainly had a super-abundance of anger.
What a word count I was capable of then. Mind you, most of it was shit, utter and complete. Indeed, a lot of it was insane. Alien.
But I ran out of bona fide anger a long time ago, and for years, certainly longer than I’ve been blogging, I’ve been having to work myself into a state – partially in character as my earlier self – just to fuel my writing.
Ultimately, I don’t think this worked. While in some sense I tried to cultivate this in my old Devils’ Advocate on Steroids (DAoS) posts, I consider these to be poorly-written failures. The faux-‘anger’, conspired to confuse the reader as to my intent, even when explicitly stated, and the effort involved in stoking the fires entailed a certain derailing of my ability to concentrate.
Further, it’s just stopped working. I find it much harder to adopt an angry stance now, and certainly not for the amount of time required to churn out a piece of work. Even on those occasions when I do get angry, I just can’t stay angry for long enough.
I make this all sound quite calculated. While there was some decision making in this direction, it’s more the case that this state of affairs was systematically perpetuated without effort or consideration. I’d go as far as saying it was a self-perpetuated cycle of literary self-harm; an implicit auto-bibliographical self-mutilation.
I comment now with the benefit of hindsight and anti-depressants.
On occasion though, lately, some things have come quickly and with lucidity. And importantly, with outrage.
I’ve still got outrage to run on. The downside of this, though, is that while I’ve got a lot of it, it doesn’t mix easily with sarcasm or any other form of wit I’m fond of. Outrage is so incredibly serious.
The trick is to get the right mix, and to get the words down in a timely fashion.
This is probably a good part of why I came to love the work of Christopher Hitchens, disagreements with many of his arguments not withstanding. Hitchens could juggle white-hot condemnation, with subtle-wit, at a frightening pace, while rarely misjudging a throw.
Sadly, literarily speaking, I’m no Christopher Hitchens, and my outrage at intellectual dishonesty, social injustices, self-centred, short-sighted apathy and more, waits to be properly unlocked. It’s more than just a little frustrating.
I suspect the key will have something to do with talking down to malicious fools in positions of relative power, all while making a point, and not getting too pretentious about it. Knowing this, and fully understanding it, though, are two different things, and I lack the latter faculty.
The chains are getting looser though, and my Inner Beast is hungry.