Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fight Club Lessons for Writers

Carlo Rotella, author of Cut Time: An Education at the Fights, decided to just watch YouTube to find the art and poetry of streetfights. In his Slate article, Rotella even gave us lessons he got from watching websites of these fights. He gave us the basic lesson (Skip the preliminaries, strike first, and keep it coming) which makes Brad Pitt really a poseur. I mean, no more braggadocio in real fights. So goodbye to Filipino fight films, for that matter. I know this because I've seen this. One guy would start heaving for to his "300" scream and "Kappow" he's down before he can draw out his breath from his diaphragm.
There is very little you can draw from actual streetfighting with writing, or maybe there is. One, no more preparation for the big finish if you started bad. Maybe this is the lesson for writing leads. If your lead is bad, be sure to be knocked out by the reader.
Rotella's first lesson (If you're going to pick a fight, or consent to such an invitation, know what you're getting into and be prepared for a fast start and a quick finish). Most fights are a blur, even to the pugilists. One, you are either very drunk to be in a fight or blinded by rage. You can either be very dangerous at this state of mind or very stupid. Similarly, if you're very drunk and you are writing the editorial, forget it. You are picking a fight you would regret the next morning when it is published. It's either you picked the wrong guy (there are fight videos here where the picker get picked on very brutally) or you get into a fast fight and your body is in slo-o-ow motion. You die a slo-o-ow death. I hope, figuratively.
Second lesson: If people are standing around smiling mysteriously and pointing cell phones at you for no apparent reason, you should get ready to duck. Remember as a writer, you are also a target. Know these mysterious smiles. Beware of the sucker punch. Don't write as if there's no tomorrow because you will get it.
Third lesson from Rotella is: There's a thin line between doofus and genius, and people often fight with one foot planted on each side of it. Norman Mailer is one writer who liked to brawl. And he acknowledged that he was putting his feet in Nobel stage and doofusland when he did. Unless you have the arsenal of Mailer's books, don't follow suit.
Rotella's last lesson is more of the commentary side. It's the blow-by-blow from the people watching. No color commentaries. Just "he just beat you, man" and other obvious observations. Why? Because of the spontaneity of the fights, you just can't believe it. They're fighting in front of you. There's blood and then woof! it's over.
Poems should aspire for that, sometimes. Fight in front of the unknowing readers and make them think, Oh, it's a fight, while you are being read. Then it's over and the readers would think, What was that? And the poem will re-play like a YouTube in their minds.
Inspired by such, I decided to click on one of the websites Rotella recommended and randomly clip on one fo the videos:

After watching this, I was thinking, where's the genius? This is all doofus extravaganza. And the things they are doing to their family jewels are so awesome. Nice way to start the day.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Submit your website to 20 Search Engines - FREE with ineedhits!
Get Free Shots from
Since March 2007
Carp Fishing
site statistics
visited 14 states (6.22%)
Create your own visited map of The World or jurisdische veraling duits?