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Monthly Archives: December 2022

The Punk Aesthetic and Writing

The whole point of punk was that you didn’t need anyone’s permission to make a racket and express yourself. Fuck the gatekeepers. Just do it. Want to start a band? Can’t play an instrument? Just get your mates together and fuck off!

Was most of it shite? Yeah, it was – but so what? Most of everything is shite anyway, isn’t it?

Surprisingly, however, some of it was good. Really good, in fact. There was a raw excitement, a palpable sense that this hadn’t been done before (not quite true, but let’s not digress). Out of this white-hot frenzy of youthful creation it turned out that craft wasn’t actually necessary to create art. Interesting, culture-shifting records were being made by people who had no qualifications except a burning desire to express something.

It turns out this is frowned upon in the writing world. There are unwritten but well understood standards as to what’s acceptable and what isn’t. “Bad” writing is frowned upon, something to be ashamed of. Craft and adhering to the traditions of “good” writing rules the day.

But why? Who says so?

Well, for starters, publishers and editors say so, and they are the gatekeepers in a world where the number of places to get published shrinks more every day.

Now, I’m a guy that likes craft. I love learning how to get better at something important to me, especially if it gives me more tools to create art. But I was a musician before becoming a writer, and I’m not sure I understand the disdain for writers who “don’t understand their craft.”

Craft isn’t everything. And here’s an uncomfortable news flash for those who think it is.

Sometimes, the angry punk with no craft at all is the one that comes up with an entirely new form of expression. Completely original because they had absolutely no idea what the fuck they were doing when they made it.

Where are those writers? Not saying that’s all I want to read, but I’m always game for something new. Who’s publishing the weird primitive shit?

Where are the punk writers?

Expressions to be Retired (Part 1)

“Fine.” Parky’s voice was rising in pitch, the words sounding as if each one was trying to overtake the next. “Everything’s fine!”

OK. Let me be clear. If I was made king of something or other, this word would immediately and forever be off-limits, verboten, finished. Use of it in any script, short story, or novel would result in punishment by death for even thinking it would be a good idea to write it down and have a character say it.

So, no – everything is not fine. In fact, it never was fine, and I’m quite confident it will never be fine at any point in the future.

So for God’s sake, give it a rest.

Note: please pass this on to someone else so the rest of the world can get the memo.

Fine stops here.