We all have an inner Popeye – unless you don’t know who that is, or you don’t think you have an inner Popeye, in which case you may not.
Popeye, the iconic comics sailor, got his start when he was drawn by Elzie Segar in 1929. Since then he’s been in comic strips, comic books, cartoons, and was even played by Robin Williams (God bless his soul) in the quirky 1980 movie.
The thing about Popeye, see, is that the comic strip was absolutely awash in puns and word play. The most famous of his statements was this: “I yam what I yam.”
So, you’re a writer. You know how it goes. You pour your blood, sweat, and ink into a story you just think is the bee’s knees, the cat’s pajamas, the maharaja’s… well, you get it.
You send the thing out for your readers to read. Suddenly, everybody’s a critic! This person thinks the character should say this. That one thinks that this scene is too long. This guy doesn’t like that character. One person wants the whole story to move faster, while another person would prefer it all to slow down!
Some voices have value, such as agents and producers and professional writers. Other voices have opinions, tainted and painted with squashed dreams and hopes and what we saw on TV last night. To quote my wife, “shadowed with the darkness of unfulfilled potential.”
I’ve been running around and around my newest novel, cutting scenes, adding scenes, snipping dialog, punching up lines, whoop, whoop, whoop, like a word-processed hurricane. Version six, seven, eight, nine…
But today, my inner Popeye made himself known (it’s probably not cool to admit one even has an inner Popeye, but the mouse is out of the hole now).
Enough, sez I! I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam! Professional advice aside, I truly appreciate everyone’s input, but Enough is Enough!
No more running around, rewriting and chopping and adding! Leave the poor thing be!
I thought the book was good when I wrote it…I mean, sure, there are some tune-ups, but by and large it is what it is.
So, many thanks for the advice and the input. I’ll take it under advisement. But, for now, I’ll be leaving my newest novel exactly where she lies, thank you very much.
Anyhoo, now that we’re talking Popeye, avoid the latter-day MGM cartoons. Sad, violent little things they are. The Max Fleisher cartoons, now there’s some comedy!
In rereading this post, I see that it makes no sense.
Well, it is what it is, I yam what I yam. You are too. What you are. See? No sense.
And this part, here? This would be how I wind it up. Like this.