Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

I’m ON the Motherf***er

(Warning note: repeated use of a Very Bad Word)

If you’ve hung around this space for any length of time, you’ll know that Pulp Fiction is one of my favorite movies, a film I can’t get enough of, one that sucks me in every time I come across it on the TV. Aside from the compelling storylines and the interesting way they come together, and the characters that you like despite the despicable things they do, there are all kinds of memorable lines:

“We’re gonna be like three little Fonzies here.”
“I have to stab her three times?”
“Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast.”
“Zed’s dead, baby.”

Yet the one line that sticks with me perhaps more than any is that one line in the title, uttered twice. And I always hear it in the cool, gelato-smooth voice of Marsellus Wallace. “I’m on the motherfucker.” See below, NSFW (jump to 44 seconds; the code doesn’t seem to work):

Those four little words (well, three little words and one fairly large one, anyway) have infected my life on an almost daily basis. Anytime someone asks me if I’m doing something that I’m doing or have done, it pops up: “Honey, could you take the garbage out?” asked while I’m tying up the bag. “I’m on the motherfucker.” “Remember, your time sheets are due today,” as I’m handing them in. “I’m on the motherfucker.” “Dad, do you have ten dollars for [insert school function here]?” “I’m on the motherfucker.” Of course, I never actually say it out loud, but more often than not, it’s in my head.

On Saturday morning I was diddling around, avoiding my manuscript for reasons laid out in what might have been this morning’s post if things hadn’t gone the way they did. Suffice to say that, since Thursday night, I’d been avoiding a particular piece because, well, I don’t know. It just didn’t work, and I just couldn’t seem to concentrate on it, so I changed one word on Thursday, none on Friday, and was trying to do something with it on Saturday. But I found myself with that same, frustrated feeling, compounded by the fact I was within seventy pages of the end. I don’t like skipping with the idea of coming back to it, so instead I took a handful of printed pages to the bathroom.

Now, I’m not a bathroom reader. I’m not a bathroom talker, either. If I had a smart phone I wouldn’t be a bathroom texter or IM’er. I prefer to take care of business, so to speak, but I’ve also long espoused the idea that sometimes, a change of scenery is exactly what you need. So I took three pages with me, started eyeballing the opening of the chapter, got immediately disgusted with the cliché that opened the section, and then the magic happened. I flipped the sheet over and started writing. I wrote three paragraphs super fast, and was out of the bathroom even quicker than if I had taken nothing in with me (my bathroom vice, and yes, we’re already into the land of Too Much Information here, is thinking). When I came out of the bathroom, I was super psyched, super pumped up, because at least part of my problem was solved—with the manuscript, that is. And what was I thinking as I made myself another cup of coffee? You guessed it: “I’m on the motherfucker.” Only now it wasn’t super-smooth Marsellus Wallace. I all-but ran around the kitchen, getting water, setting up the coffee, putting on the kettle, and I’m thinking (and saying out loud, too), “I’m ON the motherfucker.” “I’m on the motherfucker.” And when the coffee was ready, I sat down and pounded that sucker out, and experienced the rush and the joy that comes with that burst of creativity.

I’m ON the motherfucker. And I love writing.

And allow me to add one more thing: Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends stateside. Heck, to everyone! Be well, see you on Friday.

18 Responses

  1. haha…I love it! 'I'm ON the Motherf**ker!'. And may you remain to stay on it too 🙂 Happy thanksgiving from across the pond…

  2. At least you figured out the problem relatively quickly. Writing problems can stifle my work for months. (But thar's because I know it's a Big Picture problem as opposed to a cliche problem.) Congrats on re-finding your mojo and keep going!

  3. Um… no… the bathroom is for "business" only. I don't sit around in there. Go in, do the deed, come out. As fast as possible. Possibly, that's a reaction to having to wait to go to the bathroom for up to an hour when I was a kid because my dad was in there reading the paper or something.

  4. *wife knocks* "Jeff…are you using the bathroom?"
    "I'm ON the motherf*****!"
    "Well, sheesh. I didn't need a visual." *shakes head and walks away*

    Whatever works, Jeff. Whatever works. 😛

  5. (Note: Ensuing commental language uncharacteristically NSFW, but does keep with the original post motif. When in Rome…)

    Hey, there is no arguing with results — what ever process it takes to get that shit out, right?

    And I completely agree with you on "Pulp Fiction". Most of Tarantino's later movies have generated a mere "Meh…" from me, but "Pulp Fiction?" He was ON that motherfucker!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Indeed, he was. And I'm a big believer in the change in venue as unsticker of writing. Thanks for stopping in, and happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

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