Dupré: Have I got a hook for you!
[Author’s note: Warning: You might learn something from this column, so continue reading at your own risk! The knowledge will be practically useless; therefore, you are somewhat safe.]
As a writer, I have reached an existential crisis. This is terribly unusual, since I have only existed as a writer for only several months. I keep wondering, “To survive as a writer, does my creative output need a hook or a gimmick?” Great artistes of all types have one, right?
Jackson Pollack, AKA “Jack the Dripper,” found a creative solution to his chronic inability to stay inside the lines. He simply dribbled paint all over the place, including the lines, and DARED us to find the lines. “I double dog dare you!” I, personally, can appreciate abstract art, to an extent. But if I can train a brain-damaged mountain goat to use the same technique, I just don’t see it as art; it’s solely a hook (and it inevitably makes the mountain goat angry – don’t ask how I know).
John Cage was a composer with a penchant for extremes. He is most famous for the composition entitled 4’33” in which the piano “performer” sits at the piano bench looks artsy for 4 minutes and 33 seconds, gets up, takes a bow and wonders where his life went wrong. Cage also wrote the composition, Organ2/ASLAP (As SLow As Possible), with the longest performance time ever conceived. It began in 2001 and is expected to be completed in the Year of our Lord 2640 – that’s 639 years. Though the music is only eight pages long, each note lasts many months or even years, and a specially built automated pipe organ in St. Buchardi’s Church in Halberstadt, Germany is currently “playing” it. The last chord lasted seven years, and audiophiles come from around the globe to witness the changing of the notes. He won’t have been alive for over six whole centuries when it’s over. How do we even know if it’s even any good? I say, “GIMMICK!”
The wordsmith known to us as e.e.cummings is most famous due to the lack of capital letters in his poetry. Most literary historians do not know that this was due to his overwhelming, paralyzing fear of the typewriter’s <SHIFT> key. (and the <SHIFT LOCK> key – you can just forget that!) Known for the lack of stylistic and structural conformity in his poetry, besides no capitals, he would trade out and misuse parts of speech as it pleased him to do so (Imagine Homer Simpson’s boss, Mr. Burns, tapping his fingers together, saying, “Excellent, Smithers”). He was basically a living, breathing raspberry spitting at the literary and societal establishment of the time.
What kind of gimmick should I use? If I need a hook, I guess I could invert the second, ninth and 31st letter of each sentence. Maybe I could write with every other letter from the Cyrillic/Russian alphabet. Perhaps, I should write every third word backwards, or replace all vowels with the “doo-doo” emoji.
I suppose I already have a gimmick -I’m a grumpy old man, my triglycerides are high,my body aches, my blood pressure can win the Ring The Bell game at any county fairin the land,and I think you all should stay on your own damned lawns. Yeah, I sure DO have a hook!
Even Vanilla Ice had a hook (You can even check it out while the DJ revolves it).
Gary Wayne Dupré is enjoying his second career as the Administrative Assistant for L’OBSERVATEUR and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (985) 652-9545. He’s an old man, so STAY OFF HIS LAWN!