Repeat After Me, Writers: “The Penmonkey’s Paean”

My Sword

Wallpaper of the Writer’s Prayer NOW AVAILABLE.

You’re so close to the end. It’s almost over. You can taste it. But you’re scared. Lip quivering. Hands milky with sweat. Britches stained with the fluids of fear. Hell with that. Time to slap on your ass-kicking outfit, whatever it may include (cowboy duster? stiletto heel boots? red velvet Fez? something with denim fringe?). Now you must wield your chosen weapon: a cherry red electric guitar with a neck that’s also a Turkish kilij scimitar and the power to strike a metal chord and launch a 40mm grenade — foomp! – into the crotch of your enemy, and then the grenade explodes into a shrapnel of fountain pens and searing hot ink. Finally: crank the music that boils your blood into your brain: a ratta-tatting snare, some Guns n’ Roses, a little “Don’t Stop Believing,” a dollop of Wu-Tang, or maybe Tom Jones’ “Sex Bomb.”

Then, stand in front of a mirror. Douse yourself in gasoline. Light yourself on fire.

And repeat after me.

This is the Writer’s Prayer. This is the Penmonkey’s Paean.

I am a writer, and I will finish the shit that I started.

I will not whine. I will not blubber. I will not make mewling whimpering cryface pissypants boo-hoo noises. I will not sing lamentations to my weakness.

My confidence is hard and unyielding. Like a kidney stone lodged in the ureter of a stegosaurus.

These are my adult pants. The diapers have burned away in the fires of my phoenix-esque rising.

I will burn down the forest. As the conflagration rages, all my excuses shall come scurrying forth like syphilitic rats whose backs smolder with the smoky scent of my coming victory. When my excuses bound, shrieking and squealing, toward my feet, I shall use my mighty wordhammer to squash them all, ‘asploding each like a sausage stuffed with self-deception and disillusionment.

This book is not the boss of my shit.

These characters dance when I tell them to dance. They leap, cackle, fuck and punch because I jolly well told them to and if they don’t do as I say I will have them nibbled to death by marmots.

This plot is knotted tight in the configuration I demand. With it I shall tie a noose, and with that noose I shall hang my fears and uncertainties by the neck until they void their bowels and their legs quit kickin’.

These words march in the order I choose. They are my little bitches, cobbled together of letters and made to carry heavy notions and lofty ideas and character motivations and bad-ass non-stop mad ninja action. In this way they are like ants, carrying more than they should rightfully be able to carry.

They can even be forced into  sentences that no one has ever written before. “Betty Scarpetti can take pictures with her robotic hoo-hah, and those pictures will steal your dreams and sell them to goblins working the Secret Carnival down in the parking lot of the Piggly Wiggly.” See? Nobody has ever written that before. Every word journey is a Journey West. I am Lewis, and I am Clark. I am not the Donner Party.

I recognize that writing a novel is hard. And I don’t give a lemur’s left foot. I don’t give a good goddamn. I don’t give two shits in a wicker basket. The best things in life are hard. Like hunting pterodactyls. Like getting married. Like climbing a mountain and building a ladder to the moon. Like raising children. Like raising robotic children. Like making a golem who will build a robot who will raise your robot children.

Writing a novel is hard because it needs to be hard. If it was easy, every jackalope with chalk dust on his fingers would write an epic masterpiece on his cave wall.

I am like a crazy mountain goat, clambering to heights no man should go.

I can almost see the top now. The pinnacle awaits.

This book is almost complete. But challenges shall dog my every step.

My hamstrings might snap like high-tension cables and take out one of my eyes. My back may bend and bow until my scoliosis allows me to pleasure myself with my mouth. My knee caps might shoot off, striking a Yeti in the eye which makes him really mad and so he comes over and tears both of my arms off and beats me about the head and neck with my own gore-spewing limbs. My mind may crumble under the assault, driven to the very precipice of sanity, staring down into the deepest yawning yawping abyss and as the Yeti howls and my synapses fire I will smell the scent of funeral flowers wafting up from that abyss and I will find it peaceful and comfortable and will realize how easy it would be to just pivot my hips just-so and go tumbling down into that satisfying darkness, the darkness of ease, the darkness of acquiescence, the milk-livered niddering darkness of sweet sweet cowardice.

But I will do no such thing.

I will soldier on.

I will grab one of my severed arms in my teeth.

I will flail my neck around until I slug the Yeti in his Yeti balls with one of my own dismembered limbs, and I will watch as he cries, “MROOOOOooooo!” and pirouettes into the chasm of shadow, clutching his junk.

I will reattach my arms with the duct tape I wisely brought from home.

I will hammer my spine straight with a rock I found on the ground.

I will tie my busted-ass hamstrings around my recently-reattached arms, and I shall puppet my own legs as if I am a Marionette, and I shall puppeteer those legs so that they step over the yawning abyss.

I will sally forth until I have this book by the balls and by the throat.

I am the Commander of these words.

I am the King of this story.

I am the God of this place.

I am a writer, and I will finish the shit that I started.

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