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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Too Cool for ‘Back-to-School’

Yikes. Looks like the kiddies are back for school. I had to navigate through a sea of fake ID-carrying kiddies — and their parents, and their moving vans, and their crappy furniture exactly like the crappy furniture I used to have — to get to work and back. And I wasn’t even allowed to hit any of them! Bitches.

(Slightly more on the topic over here.

What? It’s not like this is the only place I’m allowed to write, dammit.)

Speaking of writing elsewhere, ‘Moving Day’ for the colleges means it’s September 1st. And that means there’s another issue of Zoiks! on the virtual newsstands. And that means that I get to post tonight without really trying. Which is cool, because dodging all those matriculating little… well, matriculators today has exhausted me. So see below for my last Zoiks! piece, and head over to Zoiks! for the very latest. I’m out.

My Parachute is Black and White

A lot of people have asked why I’m interested in getting into writing. The truth is, it’s a perfect vocation for a guy like me. But to really appreciate the logic, you need to know exactly what sort of person I am. I’m a complicated man, with all manner of qualities tailored perfectly to the life of an author.

First, there’s the prodigious laziness. While my particular brand of ‘not doing anything’ would be detrimental — even debilitating — in many lines of work, it’s no real impediment to writing. I’m new to all of this, but from what I understand, a good writer can spend ninety percent or more of his or her time not actually writing. It’s a pretty sweet gig in that regard, if you think about it. Could a banker spend most of her day not banking? Could a truck driver get by with sitting on the couch all the time, not trucking? Could a management consultant keep his job by… well, by not doing whatever the hell it is management consultants do? Quite possibly the last one, but that’s not the point. The point is, in most professions, you actually have to do something, most of the time, to work your way up the ladder. With writing, not so. A feverish night or two of scribbling down nonsense every once in a while can keep you slacking for weeks or months at a time. Plus, there’s no real chance for career advancement. The ‘corporate path’ for authors is less like a ladder, and more like a doorstep. No pressure there.

Writing also offers a myriad of opportunities to exercise my procrastination skills. Those ‘feverish nights’ of writing I mentioned? For an author, those usually occur just before a ‘drop-dead’ deadline — or often, soon after. That’s the beauty of a ‘drop-dead’ deadline in this business; if a writer is late, no one actually drops dead. That’s why writers make lousy air traffic controllers, or ambulance drivers. Or hostage negotiators, come to think of it. Better to write about such things, than to put keisters on the line.

Another skill not necessarily required to be a good author is fine attention to detail. This was another big plus for me — many days, I couldn’t tell you for certain whether I’m wearing my underwear inside-out or not. ‘Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s’ are not my strong points, by any means. But why should they be? That’s what word processors are for. Besides, there’s no real problem if a writer misses a few details here and there. If an architect forgets a couple of beams, a building drops or a bridge falls into a river somewhere. If a doctor mails it in one day, then maybe a patient goes home with a glove inside them, or the wrong leg cut off, something inconvenient like that. But if a writer misspells a word or misplaces a semicolon, it’s no big deal. The really good writers have editors to ferret out those sorts of problems. And for the rest of us, it’s just a typo. Unfortunate, yes, but not life-threatening — unless we’re writing copy for a CPR training manual, maybe. Nobody wants you pressing on their ‘rub cage’, or blowing air into their ‘moth’, no matter how sick they are.

Finally, I’m into writing because it really helps to exercise my imagination. Not for the subject matter, of course — there’s no time for creativity when you’re barfing two thousand words an hour onto a screen to beat a deadline. No, the imagination comes into play for what might happen next: will I ever make any money writing this drivel? How many lawsuits am I eventually going to be slapped with? And where do umlauts come from? These are all questions I hope to answer some day, but for the moment, I write. And dream. I can even imagine somebody out there will read this nonsense. Ah, it’s good to be a writer.

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