Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover, But Can You?

“You just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free.”
Paul Simon

Disclaimer: For those new writers following my blog and my blind stumbling through the minefield that is writing, make sure you read all the way to the end.

There comes a time when you question your place in things. Relationships, jobs, sports, just about anything you do, or will do, will come under the microscope. Perfection is a myth. Happiness is accepting what you have without question and knowing where it fails and where is succeeds.

Nowhere is that more evident than the arts or, for the intents of this article, writing. Where else would you subject yourself to the constant criticism, the abject failure without guidance of what you’ve done wrong, what you just haven’t done good enough or, just simply, that it wasn’t “what they were looking for”? In any other job, there would be only so much you could take before you said, enough was enough, on to greener pastures.

Lets face it, relationships are the only place we will face that kind of strife and yet continue on, and yet here I am looking at the industry and glancing at the door. The problem is, I like the thrill of writing too much. I keep turning the other cheek even though I know how much it will hurt. It’s like I have my own little peephole into a myriad of worlds. Upon initial peep, the worlds are mere pencil sketches. Black and white. The longer I look, the more colour and detail fill up the space. To put it in terms of my writing, the more flesh is added to the bones.

I know all writers go through moments of self-evaluation, or at least I think they should, in which they question their ability or their place in the grand machination that is the writing industry. They draw strength from those that have persevered through numerous rejection. Thing is I can’t help but relate the industry to Stephen Kings horror short, The Mangler. To me, the Mangler is a printing press.

mangler1Like the story, it chews up writers with reckless abandon, impervious to their plight or growth. It offers neither rhyme nor reason for its choices and yet we writers line-up around the block. We await our turn. The odds aren’t in our favour and skill sometimes has very little to do with the selection process. For every one that avoids The Mangler, 100 fall into its gaping maw.

We pop out the others side, lick our wounds and fall into place at the end of the line again. We are confidant that this time, is the time.

Why do we do it? The pay is terrible, the hours are long and the criticism harsh.

Why? Because words are our crack cocaine. We can’t get enough of them. Molding them into things, into people, into places. We mix them into colours so vivid they open our minds eye and we see them. They add texture, odour and sound to thin air. Some not pleasant but, if we do our job right, they feel real. We can grab the readers by their senses and pull them bodily into the book. We immerse them so deeply in the story that when it is over they emerge, gasping for air like a drowned swimmer.

That, right there, is why we suffer the flailing to our psyche. We endure the rejections that sting like a …. well, a lot. Rejections that rarely, if ever, help us grow our skills. No, that is something we have to do ourselves.

So while there are days that I desperately want to leave this lover, I can’t. It just keeps pulling me back in because next time, next time is the time. I can feel it.

Do you hear that, Mangler? Your time is coming.

About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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6 Responses to Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover, But Can You?

  1. Get out that list of all, make that ALL, the things you’ve done right and well in your life. Include the people, the relationships, the fun, the comforting, the time lying in the breeze. DLTBGYD is something I wrote on our staffroom white board many years ago when we teachers were pretty upset about something, can’t remember what.. Illegitimi non carborundum is the Latin for this. Don’t let the b********s get you down. You know this phrase. Now go and live it, all you writers.
    Heartfelt post, Dale. 🙂

    • Dale Long says:

      I have a real problem with bull**t. I feel the need to set the offender straight. All the time. That and I felt the need to justify why I keep turning the other cheek when I normally lash out.
      Lets face it, I’m an addict.
      Hello, my name is Dale Long and I am a word addict. I used to think I wouldn’t be able to think up new and unique stories, now I can’t stop them from lining up in my head. Now where are the cookies and juice?

  2. Deepam (Susan) Wadds says:

    Your time is coming, Dale. Don’t worry, just keep that pen sharp and remember why you write. Not for the Mangler, not for the judgment or the acclaim, but for the sheer torturous delight of pulling up the chair to the desk and watching the magic of words turn into story. In the words of another song of that era, “don’t give up
    ‘cos you have friends
    don’t give up
    you’re not beaten yet
    don’t give up
    I know you can make it good…”

  3. Anonymous says:

    You never cease to amaze me Dale. Your blog keeps me wanting more. Like you said your words pull me in

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