Write to Offend, Offend to Write…
Our writing is the expression of our innermost secrets. Writers love having secrets. Almost as much as they love telling them. But the trick is in telling them in a way that they still remain secret…
We offer fleeting glimpses of the dark turmoil churning in our brains, the black puddles pooling in the bottoms of our hearts. We serve up an elaborate stage production of how we would like to see our anguish, frustration, hatred, misery and despair evoked in various interesting and creative ways. We write to offend, and we are often offended by what we write (certainly before and usually after the editing process). Writing, man – it’s all about pushing those buttons, crossing the line, provoking reactions… and courting the exhibitionist urge to reveal dramatic insights into our own tortured souls—but just fleeting glimpses, mind you! Writing, it’s a burlesque performance. A minstrel show. A private 24-hour snuff webcam.
And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Hey look at me,” says the writer. I can make you laugh. I can make you cry. I can inspire you to greatness. I can make you hate. You are my marionette. We are all just puppets.
Read my work. This is my life. This is what I’ve done. This is what I want, what I work for, what I hope for, what I believe. This is what scares me. This is my triumph, this is my shame. This is what I’ve been through… Not really, but kinda sorta. The writer lives in an amorphous, emotional world, not a physical one. A churning, surreal ocean of extremes without ultimatums. The writer’s mind is capable of things that are incomprehensible to everyone but him. The writer confronts the unimaginable on a daily basis, wrestles it, dissects it, devours it, and makes it his own. There are no taboos – the writer can envision Hitler’s (all twelve of ’em) desire for power and purity and funny mustache choices, he can embrace Manson’s cockneyed need to manipulate everyone around him, he can empathize with Dahmer’s bizarre tastes for torture and gore, and he can sympathize with Jones’ Kool-Aid solution when the shit hit the fan – just as surely as he can embrace and appreciate the culinary heights of Julie and Julia, and the transcendental rebirth of Eat, Pray, Love.
The writer routinely goes places that others would never dare. Sometimes in his mind, and sometimes even in body before he writes about them. And he brings back war stories.
If you don’t scare yourself with your writing, you’re doing something wrong. If you don’t offend, you’re not delving deep enough. If you are playing it “safe” you are playing to lose.
Write to offend. Write to anger. Write to incite riot. Not in your readers, but in yourself.
The most offensive thing I’ve written: The Garbage Eaters