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HOW TO TALK WRITER

December 8th, 2008 5 comments

In a previous STORYTELLERS UNPLUGGED entitled LANGUAGE–BY LINGOIST Mort Castle, I established my multifluidity in Spanish, Russian, French, Arabic, German, and Classical Gibberish. In our global, even globular village, it is somewhat essential to be able to express yourself in a number of languages.. The barriers come down between peoples when you can say, “I am not CIA so please don’t employ that red hot nozzle thing in the manner your gestures indicate you plan to, my good friend.”

Today, then, I wish to provide an introduction to a fortunately obscure language that nonetheless is spoken by well over several hundred people in countries throughout the world.

Let’s focus on … HOW TO TALK WRITER

WRITER is a deceptive parlance. To many people, it resembles English. But this is only on the surface.

Let’s take a look at the following statement, often used after the second or third or fourth glass of box wine at an alleged literary soiree:

I had no choice in becoming a writer; it’s my calling.

This is an easily understood cliché, if we concern ourselves solely with literal meaning.

But if we are aware of unique idioms and bodily gestures, have a grasp of social, economic, and psychological issues in a particular context, we understand these words to really mean:

You think I could ever hold a real job?

Let’s take a look at other expressions in WRITER–and their translations.

***
THE WRITER SAYS: I’m in negotiations with my publisher on the new book.
THE WRITER MEANS: They say it’s garbage and they don’t want it, so I’m begging.

THE WRITER SAYS: I’ve been offered a six figure advance.
THE WRITER MEANS: I’m counting both sides of the decimal point.

THE WRITER SAYS: I want greater control of the marketing and promotional aspects, so I just might self-publish.
THE WRITER MEANS: Nobody wants to publish it. Bastards.

THE WRITER SAYS: Critical reaction was mixed.
THE WRITER MEANS: Some critics disliked it, others despised it. Bastards.

THE WRITER SAYS: Stephen King’s going to blurb me.
THE WRITER MEANS: I sent a book to Stephen King. Bastard.

THE WRITER SAYS: We’ve got some motion picture interest.
THE WRITER MEANS: My brother-in-law just bought a camcorder.

THE WRITER SAYS: I start my book tour next week.
THE WRITER MEANS: Now that gas is cheap again, I’m driving upstate where my cousin will let me stay overnight so I can do a signing at a new 7-11.

THE WRITER SAYS: Now that I’ve attained literary success, I’m thinking about returning to pursue my academic career
THE WRITER MEANS: Once I get my GED, there’s a two year associates program in electrical engineering. Those guys always have work.

THE WRITER SAYS:. I count Hemingway, Balzac, and St. Augustine among my influences.
THE WRITER MEANS: I know other famous names, too: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Hermione Gingold, Douglas Fairbanks, Carole Landis, Van Lingle Mungo.

THE WRITER SAYS: It’s got to be spontaneous for me so I never outline.
THE WRITER MEANS: You think I planned it to come out this mess?

THE WRITER SAYS: I base my characters on fascinating real life people
THE WRITER MEANS: The world may be full of interesting people but those I know visit fabric shops and like French fries and are trying to figure out if it’s the heat or the humidity.

THE WRITER SAYS: It’s just great to see those writers I know and admire hit that #1 spot on the bestseller list!
THE WRITER MEANS: Bastards.

THE WRITER SAYS: Oprah’s considering it for the club.
THE WRITER MEANS: I sent her a book. Lady bastard.

THE WRITER SAYS: Where do I get ideas? Everybody has his own way
THE WRITER MEANS: I once had an idea but I can’t remember it.

THE WRITER SAYS: Nice guy, but Larry King didn’t know what he was talking about and I had to tell him so.
THE WRITER MEANS: But I was still pretty angry so I turned off the TV.

THE WRITER SAYS: John Grisham? Great writer, great guy.
THE WRITER MEANS: Never met the bastard.

THE WRITER SAYS: I’m not so sure I like the direction my editor wants me to take on the new book
THE WRITER MEANS: What’s she mean, write it in English?.

THE WRITER SAYS: We are working on the sale of foreign rights.
THE WRITER MEANS: Miguel had a copy of the book when he was deported back to El Salvador.

THE WRITER SAYS: Born writer? Well, I know I’m in it until the day I die.
THE WRITER MEANS: Not long from now, because what freelancer can afford health insurance?

THE WRITER SAYS: Writing keeps me young.
THE WRITER MEANS: Goddamn, am I old.

THIS WRITER SAYS: End of year. Happy holidays. Thanks for reading us Unpluggers. See you in a brand new year.

THIS WRITER MEANS: Know you know when I’m being faux curmudgeon, so you know I mean … Happy holidays. Thanks for reading us Unpluggers. See you in a brand new year–a year we enter with renewed hope for the world and its future.

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