Saturday, May 8, 2010

Writers ain’t normal!

Today, class, we will explore the concept of normalcy and how it does or doesn’t pertain to some members of society currently known as “writers”. In true scientific procedure (my degrees are in Psychology you know) we must first define our terms:

Normal: The Oxford English Dictionary defines "normal" as 'conforming to a standard'. Another possible definition is that "a normal" is someone who conforms to the predominant behavior in a society. This can be for any number of reasons such as simple imitative behavior, deliberate or inconsistent acceptance of society's standards, fear of humiliation or rejection etc.
The French sociologist Émile Durkheim indicated in his Rules of the Sociological Method that the most common behavior in a society is considered normal. People who do not go along are violating social norms and will invite a sanction, which may be positive or negative, from others in the society.

Writer: Main Entry: 1au·thor (since the search for writer revealed…one who writes.)
Pronunciation: \ˈȯ-thər\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English auctour, from Anglo-French auctor, autor, from Latin auctor promoter, originator, author, from augēre to increase — more at eke
Date: 14th century
1 a : one that originates or creates : source b capitalized : god 12 : the writer of a literary work (as a book)
— au·tho·ri·al \ȯ-ˈthȯr-ē-əl\ adjective

So we have normal, such as it is, and the most we can say is a writer is one who writes. Emile’s definition is the most telling for today’s blog- those who engage in the most common behavior are normal- indicating all others are in varying stages of abnormality.

Below are five pieces of evidence to support our aforementioned hypothesis:

1)Writers often spend hundreds of hours on projects that will never garner them pay or accolades.
Normal people work for money.

2)Writers often talk to or interact with people who do not exist.
For normal people that’s a mental disorder and can be looked up in any Psychological manual.

3) Writers will spend their hard earned money and vacation time flying across the globe to find others of their kind to mingle with and learn from. In other words- they go on vacation for educational purposes.
Normal people go on vacation for fun, and would think discussing the ramifications of showing verses telling on a vacation to be cruel and unusual punishment.

4) Writers think that having a few quiet hours to write is priceless.
Normal people think having to spend a few hours writing is yet another form of torture of which the Geneva Convention would not approve.

5) For writers a sagging middle is concern that the middle of their book has suddenly developed black hole like dimensions.
For normal people a sagging middle is the result of too much fast food and an uncontrolled addiction to the remote control.

There are many more examples. The evidence is startling in its scope. The fact is, even without doing a scientific study, the evidence alarmingly points to the conclusion that writers are simply not normal.

We do not behave within the confines of acceptable, common behavior. We think and dream about worlds that don’t exist outside our heads. We jot notes on napkins in the middle of conversations. We get excited about workshops that will teach us how to create a better villain.

This could indicate that being a writer is not really a calling so much as a disease. A group of misfits (within the realm of defined normalcy mind you) who have learned to cope with our disorder by inflicting it on others.

We simply ain’t normal.

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