Thursday, June 17, 2010

Slow Days

What do editors, pundits and comedy writers do on slow days?

I've found myself asking that question of late. Not that these days have been slow (i.e. nothing happening in them), mind you, and not that the world has run out of things pundits traditionally react to: politics, pop culture phenomena and problems. One asks this question because despite this, the slow day can conceivably still happen.

Maybe the writer's off his game on that particular day. Maybe he's blocked-- as I've been for the last three years (breakups will do that to you)-- and his output just isn't up to par. Maybe there really is nothing to react to, on that one particular day. Maybe the day is slow in that what our opinion-maker wants to write about isn't what his audience expects. Some writers write for markets who have expectations with regard to the topics he writes about, his tone and the style that said markets have grown comfortable with. Simply being conscious of this disconnect is enough to sometimes sap the will to finish anything.

So just what do these people do on "slow days?"

I guess this is why some shows rely on a roomful of writers who may have varying "peak" and "off-game" days, or why Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Conrado de Quiros writes about music or basketball or the joy of reading-- topics outside the realms of his usual political commentary.    

I used to be able to write about things other than Engrish, the nature of love or life in a Lovecraftian universe or my personal phenomenology of loneliness or the futility of art or writing as a tool for self-validation in a world of consumer economies. This was in '03 when I could write about anything. I need to get back there if I'm to continue writing. The days have been slow (in that I've been blocked, or nobody really likes my content) for three years.

It's high time to find out just what all those other writers, commentators and pundits are doing on slow days. High time for me to do it too.  

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