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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jarret Liotta on Writing -- Part I

December 2, 2009: Many of my most loyal readers constantly ask where I get my ideas for essays and stories. (Maybe they don't actually ask, but I can tell what they're thinking from the way they look at me.) As a rule I don't like to talk about myself, but I thought I'd make this rare exception and, per chance, enlighten some of my fans and followers as to the esoteric processes that drive and motivate this complex and -- dare I say -- scintillating young man.

In actuality, I get a great number of ideas when I'm out walking. I like to walk because it gives me a chance to ponder my victories and agonize over my defeats, as well as get a little exercise.

Just tonight, for instance, an idea came to me for creating a lengthy fantasy interview with a car company executive who explained to me why headlights were being made much brighter these days. (The blinding headlights I kept being flashed with also played a role. The exec's name was Milton Dickwad, and in that frustrating politically charged avoidant manner unique to corporate PR men, he tries to convince us that the brighter, sharper headlights, though they hurt one's eyes beyond reason, are actually generating more energy back toward the cellunoid (whatever that is) through a very complicated process we're all too stupid to understand, thereby making the car more fuel efficient and, therefore, more environmentally friendly. And, of course, in the most classic of mass-American-appeal fashions, we blindly take his word for it and exit the interview grateful for the little pine tree air freshner he granted us gratis.)

Another recent idea, which came about thanks to a coworker, after he saw me drinking a bottle of Snapple iced tea, centers on exposing the sham of Snapple's "Real" Facts inside their caps. Very few people seem to know that these "facts" are mostly lies, but not all them. In order to differentiate, you have to visit their stupid website. I find this somehow monstrous, as they're planting stupid ideas in my and my children's heads every time we're stupid enough to read their stupid caps (and believe me, we're that stupid!) It infuriates me, because I know from experience that misinformation, once learned, will, over time, become fact in a brain, unless it's replaced. Therefore, unless we take the time to flush the information out by researching the facts -- and I promise you, we never will! -- we're stuck going through the rest of our lives believing erroneous trivia about bees and Indian monkeys and a whole variety of other stupid things ... Fucking assholes! I wish I'd stop drinking their stupid tea. (That'd show them!)

But I digress. I merely wanted to point out how easily and arbitrarily my story ideas arise. The key is getting them down. In some strange way, once the idea hits, in an instant I can almost feel exactly how the thing is to be written, and yet I still have to discipline myself through the process of doing it. More often than not, as you can see from the above, I flippantly make some notes on one idea or another, then never get back to it. On rare occasions I'll regret it, and maybe even revisit an idea many months later, but mostly those ideas are replaced by new ones which -- upon entering the mind -- simply seem like the best, most vital, most original and engaging idea ever to be thought up ... until the next one replaces it ...

Anyway, the most important point is, Why are you wasting your time reading about these stupid ideas when you should be away from your computer nurturing yourself with ice cream and pornography? Haven't I taught you anything, O favorite readers of mine!


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  2. Liotta, my Honest Tea cap told me over lunch today: "Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end." I thought Honest Tea was above that kind of cheap humor.

    Up until recently I have been getting my ideas for scribbling off of the back of cracker boxes, you know those terrible little cocktail recipes for something other than cheese on your crackers...I found it all very inspiring, but now I will take to walking about, sometimes with a hat in my hand...certainly the fresh air will bring something to mind.