Disclaimer: I didn’t intend for this blog to be so writing-centric. I know that many of my dear readers (that’s you) are not writers and probably don’t give two flying monkey shits about what happens behind the curtain. You just want to take your ruby slippers back down the yellow brick road and party with some Munchkins (you know those lollipops are laced with something). But my personal life right now is more in black and white than technicolor, and writing is the only thing keeping the tornado at bay. So unless I’m visited by another preternatural swarm of flies or something equally as amusing/terrifying, I’m afraid you’re getting writerly rants. I feel like I should have worked in a metaphor involving an oil can in there somewhere, but let’s get out of Oz before the Lion remembers he’s a carnivore realizes we’re meat.
I like men. I, mean, yes, I am a heterosexual female and I prefer my candle-lit dinners and subsequent “fade to black” time to be with the opposite sex (bonus points if he is intelligent, tall, has a British accent, and has played a dark-haired villain in a major motion picture). But, specifically, I like writing about men. Most of my short stories are from a male point of view. My novel has a male protagonist and twice as many male point of view characters than female.
Well, at the risk of insulting my male friends . . . Men are easy. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
See, I’ve worked in female-dominated offices for many years and, like life, working with women is like a box of chocolates. Only half of them are filled with angry bees and the box is refilled and shaken every night. Women are a Whitman’s Sampler from the pit of hell. Yes, this is a generalization and a stereotype and as a woman I shouldn’t perpetuate such things, but Odin help me if it isn’t true. Bitches be crazy. And it’s not easy being in a woman’s head. I should know. We think a lot. About everything. All the damn time. It’s exhausting. Writing is hard enough as it is without having to also navigate through the rat king that can be a woman’s mind.
However, you know what you’re going to get with men. If a guy is an asshole one day, it’s a safe bet he’s going to be an asshole every day. Men are a bag of Hershey’s miniatures – there are only five options and they are all clearly marked. Again, this is the broadest of generalizations, but I’m comparing people to chocolate here, so obviously you shouldn’t take any of this too seriously. Men tend to think before they act then sort everything out later. This is great from a writer’s standpoint because you don’t have to delve too deeply into motivation. There’s more action, more doing, more moving the plot forward without stopping to think about consequences.
There is also a bigger reason why I prefer to write male characters. A reason that I didn’t fully realize until I finished writing a short story just last week. The story was about a girl who could fly, but only if no one was watching. Her parents had kept her under constant surveillance since she was a child to keep her grounded. For me, writing is always kinda like pulling yarn from a cat, but for this story the yarn was knotted and the cat had lockjaw. When I’d finished, I instantly hated it. I wanted to drag it into a sub-folder and never look at it again. And it was all because the protagonist was a girl. As a woman, I felt a sense of responsibility toward her. I was compelled to make her story real and relevant. I wanted her motivations to be genuine, her emotions justified. And I failed on every count because writing that is hard, too hard, and that’s not the kind of story I ultimately want to tell.
I want to write silly little stories about suicidal squirrels or quirky dog-loving robots. I want to make people think a little and laugh a lot and maybe go “Ew” a couple times. And I can do that best when I have a man leading the story. A man that I can jerk around and torture a little. A man I don’t feel needs to represent the very best of his gender. I can’t do this with a woman character. What does that say about me as a writer or as a female human? I’ll over-think that one later. Right now I gotta finish writing about a poor guy and his over-zealous robot vacuum.
First — and I think I speak for BD, which is something I never imagined myself saying, but I guess I woke up over in her space in the chocolate box today — I really appreciate your punctuation in your tweet:
Chocolate, squirrels, and why men are easy all on my blog today. Secretly, though, I was kind of hoping for chocolate squirrels. 🙂
Second — I understand and appreciate your points about men and about what you * want * to write, but here’s a thought I had, which you are free to discard or to tuck away for when you feel the time is right:
When I read this “. . .writing that is hard, too hard, and that’s not the kind of story I ultimately want to tell . . ., my thought was, “Ah, but maybe that’s the story that wants to be told.”
Maybe therein lies something really, truly golden.
Or not! Just thinkin’ out loud. 🙂
Commas are important, if not underappreciated.
And I hear what you’re saying about “the story that wants to be told.” But I just don’t think I have it in me to do such a story justice. At least not now. Maybe further down the road once I’ve gotten all the squirrels out of my system.
Hey! Please. Speak for me. Especially if you use your good words.
I think Amy is experiencing the “it’s black, it’s white” Michael Jackson version of life right now. She’ll eventually “beat it” and find her “bad” self through writing.
I only used one comma in this comment. But it was the good comma.
Here’s wishing everyone good comma(s).
This convinces me that I am a lesbian trapped in a mid-sized fifteen year old male’s body. I suffer from analysis paralysis on a daily basis and think so much I can barely function in the real world. I’m like an oil can sitting empty in a field of tornado destroyed wheat in Kansas while everyone else of any value is off saving the world or killing witches or writing stories with kick-ass male leads which is okay BECAUSE THEY ARE GREAT, FUCKING STORIES….
By the way, my oil can? It’s filled with estrogen.
I thought your oil can was filled with Adderall. And even though I do over-think sometimes, I do tend to see things in a very black or white way and I can separate my emotions from my decisions better than some women. I can relate to men better than women a lot of the time. Maybe that’s why I like you so much – you’re like the best of both worlds. 🙂
“Only half of them are filled with angry bees and the box is refilled and shaken every night. Women are a Whitman’s Sampler from the pit of hell.”
Sad. True. My working life in two sentences. And having a boss that was a woman? Nightmare of epic proportions.
I thought only dogs cocked their legs to pee over everything to mark their territory.
PS – write about whatever you want. It’s all good.
Where I work now at UGA is an anomaly – mostly women (with a woman boss) but everyone is really nice and the drama level is barely a 2. I think it’s because this department helps students with disabilities. Everyone really seems to love their job and you couldn’t do it well if you were a cranky-pants all the time.
First, I changed all my passwords due to Heartbleed, and I can’t freakin’ remember any of the new passwords. I have them stored on my personal computer, and I open the file every damn time I have to log into a website, but I am not using my personal computer right now, so I cannot access the darn file.
Second, I haven’t a clue if what I wrote above is properly punctuated with commas, but I did try to push it as much as possible.
Third, I’ve been lucky to work with cool women.
Fourth and final, I’ve been unlucky in finding cool women to befriend. I’ve always had more guy friends.
Hippie’s thoughts were similar to my initial thoughts, and your response was similar to how I feel about myself. Funny how that works, eh? Regardless, like BD wrote, write whatever you want, because what you write is good. Damn good.
I don’t judge punctuation or grammar in blog comments. Just as I hope you don’t judge punctuation and grammar in my blog posts.
You are lucky to have worked with cool women. I do now and it’s rad. I think my guy/girl friend ratio is about even though. But I don’t have but a hand-full of real friends. I am stingy with my friendship. That, and I’m just lazy. Heh.
I should be insulted, but you know, really, you’re right… 🙂
And I meant it all in the nicest possible way. 🙂