Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Infinite Monkey Theorem

No, I haven't gone completely, certifiably mad.

Infinite Monkey Theorem is the idea that if you stick a bunch of monkeys and have them bash on typewriters (oooh, there's a quaint word), they'll eventually recreate one of Shakespeare's stories. You know, the perverse and cynical part of me finds that eminently amusing. It kind of puts into perspective the Arteeestes who like to wear black turtlenecks and say really long words when short ones would have worked. You know, like antidisestablishmentarianism.

Although when I look at how certain authors behave, I'm sure it's the monkeys who are astounded we can even string two words together.

Writing isn't rocket science. You sit at a keyboard and pretend stuff happens to people who don't exist. If you're good and/or lucky and/or obstinate and/or a celebrity (or a murderer), a bunch of strangers will get to read about it. Unless you're popular, the pay sucks. The industry is filled with snotty pretenders, just like any other profession. The conditions are oftentimes appalling (sit for 10 hours in front of a screen, stick your arms out and wiggle your fingers really, really, eh?). There's the competition, healthy and otherwise. There's the "writer's block", a term that can ratchet up my blood pressure a few notches. There's the comparison, the self-doubts, the pressure real and perceived, the expensive chaos of advertising your work, the deadlines, red and blue lines, and flatlines. The pushy promoters who invade your space, the critics, the cheerleaders, those in between. Not enough fingers and eyeballs to manage the stories piling in your head. Families, friends, colleagues if you're working another job on top of writing. Got to go to the gym, got to pretend the house is clean and not a fire-hazard. Got to find costumes, suits, shoes, business cards. Got to network and re-work. Edit, submit, plot.

And it's the best fucking job in the world. Pass the bananas.

1 comment:

Nicole Austin said...

Amen! I love this "job". With a laptop always close at hand, we're always working too.