Write What You Know!

If you are an aspiring writer, you’ve probably heard it a million times, and it’s good advice. Write what you know. To prove it, I’m going to give you a list of statements, some true and some false. You’ll be able to tell which are which in an instant. It’s like that with your readers. Tell the truth and they’ll know it. Make something up and they’ll know that too. Remember this list when you’re tempted to go beyond that which you know and write falsely about that which you know not.

1. Canadian geese will walk right out into the road, even if a car is coming. It’s like they’re stupid or something.

2. The bird most likely to poop on your head would be the seagull.

3. I dunno. Seems like a pigeon would be just as likely.

4. When you’re at the gym and there is this hot babe on the thigh machine next to you, with bare legs that go all the way up to a tight leotard, and she’s sweating lightly on those legs, (a) you’re invisible to her, (b) you can’t look anyway, because if you do, that creepy guy on the other side of you will pipe up, and (c) you have to take a tiny peek anyway, for Christ’s sake, and yes, the guy starts yakking at you right on cue.

5. When you come home at night and you walk into the kitchen and say honey, i’m home, and your wife gives you that look, the hairy eyeball, you aren’t going to be able to talk your way out of it, whatever it turns out to be.

6. When you come home and your wife gives you that other, “intimate” look, you’re going to have to earn your dinner and it will be late.

7. If you wake up and can’t remember the last 24 to 48 hours, you need to get up and go to the closest AA meeting happening now.

8. If you have three treatments due in the morning and you haven’t got a single goddamned idea, and you’re sitting at the back of the AA meeting taking notes on what every speaker says in hopes of finding a plot in there somewhere, the cranky old drunk next to you starts to poke his nose into your business.

9. After the meeting, you stop in at a favorite bar and one thing leads to another and by the time you’re back in the car driving home, the sun is coming up and you’re seeing double and there appear to be geese in the road ahead. Should you slow down or just assume it’s an hallucination and keep driving, so that you can get into your kitchen and drink a couple of cups of coffee?

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4 Responses

  1. 2 and 3 sound true to me. But that’s because they’re all I know on your list.

    Everything else is a story and I don’t really care if it’s true or not. Writers can write what they know, even if the names aren’t t right and she was wearing yoga pants instead of a leotard and it wasn’t an AA meeting, but it was still a place where you had to be and it didn’t seem all that great to be there.

    I’m going to google treatment now.

    Which reminds me, In Treatment . A good tv show.

  2. Treatment: Like a short story. Told in the present tense. Do people at AA tell stories that have interesting endings?

  3. AA stories end when the program gets canceled or moves to a better network.

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