|(Illustration courtesy of Stephen Calvillo)|
What? You don't think this is going to be a smart, well-written article? You think because of the title and my immediate assertion that Kobe is somehow like a fuzzy, foreign animal that this article is going to suck? Well, you may be right. I mean, the purpose of this article isn't to produce smart, insightful writing -- hopefully that'll come later. No, I'm just writing to say hello.
This piece is something of a milestone for me. And by the way, you can call me "Reetae." Yeah, my name is David, but I feel like embracing that totally dorky, nerdy, pointless side of me that had been kept on the back-burner the past couple years. I have the rest of my life to be David -- mild-mannered, boring as all-hell amateur writer, so why not be Reetae? After all, the whole reason I'm even writing on this site is that I wanted to get away from the tediums of professional writing.
See, once you become a mildly-successful writer of Z-Grade consequence -- not enough that you actually matter, but enough that you can mention the site you write for to a chick at a party, and she won't shoot pepper spray at you if you make a move on her -- writing sort of becomes a chore. There are a lot of rules and regulations and pointless bullshit that goes with writing. Like swearing. If you want to get paid to produce sports articles, you're going to have to learn to keep those fuck's and horseshit's and mother-fucking-goddamn-horseshit's to yourself.
The problem is that unless you've got some tenure, or unless you've got some super editor -- like the guy Stephen Glass was swooning over in Shattered Glass -- you're not going to have a say on any of those rules. In fact, a lot of those rules are going to be stupid and nonsensical; you'll pitch things that'll get turned down for no reason whatsoever; many of the things you write will be eliminated or rewritten with no explanation given. Occasionally, you'll look at the finished product of the thing you submitted and you'll literally have to search to find to your original voice.
The infuriating aspect of writing for a publication is that you become the bitch of the people ahead of you on the corporate food chain. Writing is all about freedom -- it's the art of expressing yourself openly and honestly. And once you get assigned an editor, often times that freedom goes right out the window. You now have to beck and call to the whims of your editor; if you're lucky, you might get one who gives you the freedom to do what the hell you want. But that's if you're lucky.
Often, your editor will make you construct articles in such a way that it matches their own prism of thinking. You'll write something that'll get rave reviews from your editor, like, "well-written," "sharp," "interesting," but ultimately your piece will be turned down because the editor doesn't think people will care about it. It's not timely enough, they'll say. It's not news-worthy. It's been done before.
It's not important that what you wrote was actually good and interesting -- not if the one man or woman standing in your path thinks they know how the rest of the planet will react to it. And believe you me: editors are really weird about what they won't allow you to write about. Editors will obsess over the six other articles that are on the same subject you want to write about, and if they feel the idea has been done before, it'll get passed up.
Never mind that the articles on that subject were all written four years ago, and that basically no one goes back and reads four-year-old internet articles. Never mind that every writer is different, and that every new voice adds a new perspective to an issue. Never mind that things like movies get reviewed written by thousands of critics, and that each one of them offers something fresh to the table. And never mind that if you're a good enough writer, you should be able to write about anything -- and I repeat, anything -- and it should still be enjoyable as long as the subject is still interesting.
No, you will write things during the course of your life and they will be turned down, ostensibly, because some guy thought some other guy wouldn't appreciate what you wrote. And since that guy really, really cares about what that other guy thinks, you and your good writing are going to have to move the back of the line.
This isn't to say that writing professionally is like walking through the desert for days on end without water, like the walk Clint Eastwood had to make in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. But eventually those arrested ideas of yours will build up, and even if the outlet you're writing for is up to snuff, you may eventually look around the room and ask yourself if there's something you can do with those discarded epiphanies of yours.
Basically, I can encompass the purpose of this site into this simple statement: if I want to write about Teen Wolf, I can do it here. If I want to write a dissertation claiming that Teen Wolf was actually a plot by Zionists to control the World Bank, I can do it here. I've actually never seen Teen Wolf, so maybe this isn't the most flawless of analogies, but here's what I know: Bill Simmons has written relentlessly about Teen Wolf over the years. If you're a writer, have fun trying to pitch a retroactive review of Teen Wolf. Seriously, good luck. See what happens. I'll tell you right now that you can be the greatest writer in the world, and you can write a review of Teen Wolf that's so funny and so brilliant that people will soil themselves when they get to the last paragraph, and there's STILL a 99% chance that your review will be turned down because Simmons has marked his territory on Teen Wolf.
Again, I don't know Teen Wolf from a hole in the wall, and I'm probably never going to write about it. But if I wanted to, I can.
And all this brings me to the title of this diatribe. You see, Kobe Bryant doesn't resemble a llama in any way whatsoever. He doesn't look like one, or play like one, or call out Dwight Howard in the media like one. But I can needlessly shoehorn a comparison like this into an article, and it's okay. It's my site, my blog, my... whatever the fuck this is. I'd still love to make a living writing about sports, because really, it is the easiest job in the world. Still, it's nice to have an outlet to write about anything I like, no matter how pointless and dumb it is.
This is that outlet. (It's called "Reetae" because it's honestly just a name for a story character I made up one day when I was in high school. It has no relevance whatsoever, least of all to sports, which is why it's perfect.)
So, welcome people. Keep reading -- I promise future articles will actually make sense. And don't be shy; leave comments, you have no idea how much of a morale booster a non-real estate/penis enlargement comment is.