Creativity / Meandering

Meandering Monday about the Monkeys in My Head

“Why do an infinite number of monkeys always want to type “Hamlet”? What’s wrong with “Macbeth”? Why not something by Dickens or Poe?” – Tom Knapp

I’m a writer – I KNOW I am. And yet…

I often find myself at a loss for words. It’s not just a matter of the right word – it’s any words. I have a decent vocabulary, and can understand plenty, but there are times when none of those words will come to the surface when I need them, and I find myself struggling for “what is it I put in my coffee” sort of things. Heck, I even find myself at a loss sometime for the names of people I work with every day. Does this happen to other writers?

There are cheats I use – with people’s names, if I’m lucky someone else will say their name, or if I can read their nametag without being obvious. Otherwise, I just have to avoid using their name at all.

I can’t do this with writing – I have to have words. When a story comes flowing out, it doesn’t always do me the courtesy of including all the words – I wind up with placeholders for things (like <<hatachefwears>> or <<angrybutfrightened>>) because if I stop that flow to figure out what the word is, the story gets dammed up and may never resume.

A nice thing about writing is I can sit down and go back in and add or change the words later. I often make use of a thesaurus to get that “right” word – or any word, for that matter. That’s something you can’t do in conversation.

One of the things you’re supposed to do (for the sake of your BUSINESS) is to attend conventions – connect with publishers, editors, other writers, and – most importantly – readers. In my life I have attended a handful of these, but I confess that I have never attended one as a writer. If I ever achieved a status where I became an invitee – even a panelist at one of these, I would be terrified. I know I could WRITE an intelligent sounding speech, but if it ever came around to a discussion or Q&A, people would wonder who really wrote that speech as I fumble all over myself looking for words.

My mind just isn’t that organized – it’s like there’s a bunch of monkeys running around in there trying to build something, and most of the time I don’t know what they’re building until they’re done. It’s one foot in front of the other, one word after another, and they just keep putting them together until they all sort of make sense.

Much like text correction. When the title for this posting came to me, I tried to dictate it into my iPhone so I wouldn’t forget. It came out as “I love monkeys on my hair.”

One of my strengths (I’ve been told) is an ability to see patterns that others don’t – I think that the thoughts and memories are so jumbled in my brain, they piece together in many odd and unexpected ways. Sometimes it comes across as genius. This is why I say so often that once I start writing a story, I look forward to seeing where it will end up, because I really don’t know. I don’t think I’m the only one this happens to (that must be where all this silly MUSE talk comes in), and I seem to have two roles as a writer – the conduit for the swirling mess of connections that builds whatever story it can, and then the interpreter who looks over that mess and tries to make sense of it and translate it so others can understand it.

An infinite number of monkeys with an infinite amount of time, and eventually you’ll get Hamlet. I don’t have an infinite amount of time (who does? Tell me where he is…) or monkeys – I just have 100 billion neurons connecting with a quadrillion or so synapses, with thoughts building in all directions. I’m stuck with whatever meandering mess presents itself.

Just saying…


Since the fourth Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire story (“Baastards’ Revenge”) will be releasing on July 28th (although I am struggling MIGHTILY right now trying to come up with a cover), now would be a good time to encourage all of you to read the first three stories, all conveniently collected in Cats of War I. So I’m offering a Smashwords coupon to cut the price to just 99-cents for the collection (such a deal!)

Here’s the link on Smashwords:

Use coupon code WF25Z


VictimlessCoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing, including his latest publication “Victimless”, can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords:
• His Amazon Author page:
• Barnes & Noble:
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books):
• His site on WordPress:
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:
• His Goodreads author page:
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

One thought on “Meandering Monday about the Monkeys in My Head

  1. Pingback: Writing Wednesday: To Be Read, or NOT To Be Read? | William Mangieri's Writing Page

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