Monday, April 18, 2011

Outlaw - the abcedaria of a writer

Outlaw  - an outlaw, a maverick, a pirate, a criminal, a hustler, a writer. Huh? A writer? Yes, a writer. Let's look at the definition of an outlaw as provided by the lovely folks at Merriam/Webster:

Definition of OUTLAW

1: a person excluded from the benefit or protection of the law
2a : a lawless person or a fugitive from the law
b : a person or organization under a ban or restriction
c : one that is unconventional or rebellious
3: an animal (as a horse) that is wild and unmanageable
Perhaps you are the very epitome of law-abiding. You pay your taxes, your dog is licenced, you don't litter let alone shoplift and you are appalled that I would think such a thing of you. Harrumph, you snort. Outlaw. Cheezy broad just couldn't come up with a good O word for writing. What is wrong with open, opera, orchid and otter, you ask.
Well sure, I could have made any of those work - openess is essential for a writer - we need to have our mind open to many things that the ordinary (another O word!) person doesn't. Or writing is like an opera - you have to make things less subtle so that folks will notice in the cheap seats. Writing needs the same precision and attentiveness as needed to successfully grow orchids. An otter, like a writer, plays and may look carefree but that play is essential to their....blah blah blah.

But I chose the word outlaw and you'll have to deal. Or not. So here goes. (can you tell I'm buying time with all this protesting and all?)

A writer is an outlaw by her or his very nature. Writers want to operate outside of the laws of convention. Yes, my dearios - there are laws that aren't enforced by police and courts - they are enforced by what the neighbors say, or how your mum sighs when she asks you if you got that librarian job and you tell her that you haven't and have no intention of taking a job that eats up all your time. You're happy being a waiter by night, writer by day. And her shoulders slump and you feel guilty...just a little. Or your partner, very sweetly, asks you if you could, maybe, perhaps, if it isn't tooooo much trouble, add a little $ to the kitty this month. And you look at him like you mean to, you really mean to, but you don't. Because you are an outlaw from the conventional life. You are running free on your wild outlaw horse of writing, on the prairie of maybe-over-this-next-hill-is-a-letter-of-acceptance-from-an-agent-or-a-publisher, or  the range of long-overdue-check-from-that-free-lance-job-you -had-last-fall. You rebel against the restraints of time and order put on everyone else. You want to be free to stare intently at your computer screen while nothing happens (see yesterdays post on NOTHING). You rebel against having to wear a bra and stockings or a tie and suspenders when you really would rather wear jeans and a t-shirt, just right for riding the range of the imagination, the rolling foothills of perhaps and maybe and possibly.

There. I did it. Didn't think I had it in me, didya? Well, shucks, m'a'am - I'm an outlaw but even an outlaw abides by some laws....


welcome to my world of poetry said...

A very good word Jan for O,
Very well written and so enjoyable.

Have a lovely day.

Rae said...

Wow- you just held a mirror up to my face! I may not be a successful writer- but I'm one heck of an outlaw!

fredamans said...

I'm an outlaw too... LOL

Marjorie said...

I'm convinced. Writers are outlaws. I feel all rebellious now!

Arlee Bird said...

That explains it! I'm an outlaw and proud of it! No suit and tie for me and definitely no bra! I make my rules and now hopefully I can get everyone else on board with this.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Tossing It Out
Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

Julie said...

Very fun post to read. You've convinced me! :)

Liz P said...

This I like! :)

Glynis Jolly said...

I'll admit that I'm a unconventional thinker so in that sense, I guess I would be considered an outlaw.