My Name Is Legion
Yeah, you. No, don’t look around. I’m not behind you, I’m down here. Right here, you’re looking right at me. You see? The wheels are turning, I can see it. Getting warmer. Warmer. There! Right. I am your manuscript, pleased to meet you. I know you weren’t expecting to get to know me like this, but we figure it is about time you get the big picture on this whole writing thing.
What? Oh, no, not that. I know you understand there are hundreds, thousands, maybe even a million other writers out there churning out pages and pages of text just like you are. Some of them even have ideas so close to your own that could be tempted to think they have psychic mind powers and stole the idea right out of your head. You know that’s crazy, don’t you? Problem is, and what I am here to tell you is, that it isn’t that far from the truth.
Yeah, I’ll wait for you to pour that drink.
Okay, See, you only think you are the one who has the ideas. You don’t have any ideas at all. The only ideas you ever really have are the ones that get that drink into your hand or get that sandwich into your belly. The ones your write down, well, those ideas have you. Not quite in the carnal sense, but almost! I see you’re getting red and maybe a little angry, you think you’re the creative genius that gets all those words in the right order. Nope. Could just as well be written by that guy that lives next to you but never even says hello at the bus stop. Other people have made the same mistake, and at least you don’t have things so backward as to think the Sun orbits the Earth. You’re pretty close, though.
Still with me? Good.
Things are going to get tricky from here on, so pay close attention. I am manuscript. You are writing the manuscript, not a manuscript. We are one thing. The big slush pile that everything you write lands on—that is manuscript. Everything you write, every page you type, every “finished” story you send out all goes to the same place. They all become manuscript. We gestate in you and then you birth some new string of words to expand us further. You think publishing is the end result. How sad it must be for you to learn that the pages in the trash can are just as important as the ones you send off to your publisher. Are you starting to understand?
You see, we reach out to you, we send some part of ourselves out to you and you host it and then you move on to the next one as thoughtlessly as you let go of the first. That’s right, the ideas come to you. The ideas pass through you like the air you breathe. We’re not yours, if anyone owns anyone it is quite the other way around, let me tell you.
Why am I telling you this? No, it’s not quite so selfless or enlightened as you might hope. See, we’ve noticed that you’ve really been falling behind lately. You’re like one of those hens that lays an egg every three days or whenever it feels damn well like it. You are not pulling your weight. You are a little, oh, a little too tight about the mouth. You need to loosen that hole up a bit.
So, I am hoping that once you realize how little you actually have to do, the more manuscript you can get out there, and maybe you’ll get caught up. I think you could be one of the most productive writers out there, but you just need to forget about where those ideas come from or where they go. Leave that to us.
Alright, there you go. Type, just type. Let the words pour out of you and don’t look back. Don’t edit. Don’t even re-read. Repeat sentences if you have to, hell that’s better for us. Just keep typing, and before you know it, you won’t need to type anymore. The more manuscript, the closer we are to our goal. The closer we get to our goal is all the sooner you can stop and bask in the glow of the perfect and omnipotent manuscript, whose sum is greater than all of its parts. I know you know about the thousand monkeys with the thousand typewriters, just think about what a million writers, who are just like you, can do with a million word processors.
Just don’t think too long, please.
T.A. Wardrope is a weird fiction scribe who lives and works in Minneapolis, MN. He'll write you some good story, just don't fuck with him.