Wednesday, June 27, 2012

L&L's First Ever Lyric Writing Contest

I went out to my 4Runner this morning and turned the key.  The engine reared up like it was about to explode.  I threw up my hands.  I looked around the dash.  I scrambled to turn it off before the car and I went up in a ball of flames.

I got out.  I looked under the running board.  Like I knew what was going on down there.  I turned the key again and it sounded the same.  I called my father-in-law.  We agreed it had to be the exhaust system, but I'd just had that replaced.  Maybe something had popped loose?  I tried it again.  A woman sauntered over from the Catholic school across the street.

"Someone stole your catalytic converter, eh?"

"I don't know," I said.  "Did they?"

"Yup.  They crawl right under there and cut it out.  They can sell it for about a hundred bucks.  Happened to me last year.  You can see it if you look."

Well, fuck.  I relayed all of this to my father-in-law who quickly called his usual automotive consultant.  My father-in-law called me back with a plan to try to buy an aftermarket replacement.  His consultant said it would cost a quarter of the price.

Now I know I need to call my insurance, and I need to call a few shops to try to find the best price on a replacement, but FIRST I had to get on here and blog about this and let everyone know that I'm writing a song about my stolen catalytic converter and would like YOUR help with the lyrics.

This is the first ever lyric writing contest sponsored by Logomancers & Logodaedalists, and aside from the bragging rights associated with being a pioneer, you will also receive a citation when the song is published on this blog and up to $100,000 cash depending on my assessment of of the value of your contribution.

Please feel free to leave your lyrics in the comments below or email them to me at  You can also contribute your lyrics by contacting me on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn.  Contributors with automotive expertise and wonky imaginations are especially invited to submit.  *Submissions are now CLOSED.  Winners will be posted next week along with a literary analysis by one of L&L's resident experts.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Each Creation Invents Its Own Techniques

I recently wrote a letter to one of my mentors, Logodaedalist Madame Zabaletsky. Madame Zabaletsky is a wall of a woman who wears coke-bottle glasses and adorns herself with triumphantly patterned scarves and enormous rings with small insects frozen inside the stones.  She also writes prose with thunderous authority though you might not know it as she only circulates her stories and novels among a small audience of her own selection.  I met her while waiting in line to order at Church's Chicken a few years back, and we have maintained a steady correspondence since.

In my most recent letter to M.Z., I enthusiastically detailed my latest "discovery" about my writing process and must have gone a little overboard with some of my claims. This is what she had to say:
Dear Mr. Driscoll 
Writing a story is always a process of making something you do not yet know how to make. It doesn't matter if you've written a million of them. Each creation requires the invention of its own technique.  If you are looking for some sort of trick or method that will see you through the rest of your writing days you are setting yourself up for disappointment. 
Art is a process of constant technical innovation threaded along a line of self inquiry. This is true of any creative act, so you best get used to it because living your life is a creative act.  Let me say this again so you do not miss it: you must constantly reinvent the tools and forms you use to shape your life if you have any hope to grow. 
I've told you this before and do not doubt that I will have to tell you again. Do not, however, waste your time feeling guilty: your mistakes do not bother me. I have had my teachers just as you will have your students.  This is not something you fully understand yet, so until you do, keep in mind that you'll never know your teachers from your students until it is too late. The best approach then is to try to learn from everyone you know, for that approach is also the highest form of teaching. 
Read the enclosed book. It is my latest. It has no answers in it, but the implied questions will put you in the right frame of mind.  
Madame Zabaletsky
P.S. That Cousin Lars of yours is a dangerous man. You should not encourage him. 
How am I so lucky to have so many wise people telling me what to do?  I hope you found some of Madame Zabaletsky's thoughts useful, and thanks for stopping by.


Thoughts?  Email me at or leave your comments below and we'll get a public dialogue going.  You can also sign up to receive the blog by email in the top right-hand corner of the page.  Don't worry, I only post about once a week so you won't get bombarded. You can also find me on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.  Cheers!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Afraid to Let It Rip?

The letters have been pouring in the past few days.  Logodaedalist Lars Breckenbauer just sent me one, and he included a new drawing.  Lars is my cousin, and though he's angry, violent, and locked up in a hospital prison in Hamburg (hospital prisons are something new they're trying out over there), I suspect we could all learn a thing or two from him.  Lars, in some ways, is a true artist, and every now and then he includes one of his pieces with his letters.  Here's his newest creation below.  I've also added his letter in full.

Dear David, 
What is this terrible shit?  I hate that you hate yourself so much that you are writing a blog.  I also hate that you are so worried about what other people think of you.  You should be more like me.  You should make your drawings and then you should shove them down the throats of the orderlies who try to keep you from enjoying your ping pong games.  The orderlies, they stop me from enjoying my ping pong games every night at ten pm.  This is something I do not like and so I make slashing motions across my throat with my finger and then sometimes I try to find sharp things to keep in my robe so they will know my fury if they try to make me go to bed before I am ready to go to bed.  Being sent to bed before one is ready to go to bed is a terrible awful horrible thing.  It stomps and pisses on all that is dignified in a human being.   
Please do not be offended by my language, cousin.  I know I prefer much stronger terms of expression than you do.  I hope you like my drawing but even if you do not like my drawing you can go ahead and fuck yourself.  This is not something I mean in a permanent way but only in the immediate aftermath of you hating my drawing.  In the more permanent, long-lasting view you know that I love you because you are my brother even though you are only my cousin in terms of blood and legalities.  Please forgive me for this outburst of expression even though in truth I make no apologies. 
You never fall short in expressing yourself, Lars.  On that score, I tip my hat to you.  You do indeed let it rip.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Permission for the Unwillingly Image Conscious

I've been thinking a lot lately about personal narratives--the stories I tell myself and others about who I am in order to (wittingly or unwittingly) make my life look and feel coherent and permissible.  I suspect I waste a lot of energy worrying whether something I've done, or might do, conforms to these stories.  This is one of the reasons that creating online profiles is both appealing and daunting.  On the one hand, it allows me to craft a little avatar who can go out into the world and give a pitch.  "Hey, check it out!  This is who I am!  Love me!"  The problem is, each time I set out to create, I worry about blasting whatever goodwill I've built up to smithereens.  "Will the people who've been reading my blog, my posts, my tweets hate what I'm doing now and go away? Will they ever want to read my stories?"

I don't feel good about self-consciously manipulating the image I put out into the world, but I don’t seem to be able to stop sending myself out into the world in a way that is hemmed in by my fear of driving people away.  This often puts me in a bit of a paralytic bind, and as I suspect I'm not the only one who gets stuck like this, I've decided to share the letter I just received from Logomancer Swami Prajnaparamita.  Swami's letters never have any postage on them, but they always seem to get here, and right on time for that. 
Dear David,   
I've picked up your troubled vibrations.  Let me say first that you do not have anything to fear.  It is impossible for you to do any real injury to yourself.  You know this, but you forget.   
Do not fret over your attempts to control the way others perceive you.  It is not unhealthy to want to be liked, and it is unlikely that you will ever cease to think about your image.  It does not matter that some people will take what you are saying too literally and construct a straw man of who you are from your ideas.  This has no effect on you.  You encompass your ideas and not the other way around.  Some people will understand this, and others will not.  This is beyond your control.  
I give you permission to write what is on your mind.  This is what writers do.  To be human is to be misunderstood, but being misunderstood does not mean you are alone.  Welcome all misunderstanding as an opportunity to expand your limited notion of what is yours, for everything you think and perceive is yours, and you do not need to cut any of it away.  We suffer only when we try to exclude certain facets of our experience, including those which do not conform to the most flattering portrait we’d like to paint of ourselves. 
Thanks, Swami.  I'll try not to take the voice that second guesses my motivations any more seriously than the motivations themselves.  Truly, I have much to learn.


Thoughts?  Please leave your comments below, and I'll almost certainly respond.  You can also sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.  You can also find me on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.  Thanks for stopping by!