I think the second one is way easier to look at for me mostly because I’ve struggled with it for years. As students in the public schooling system, we’re taught to write ‘academic’ or ‘professional’ works. In other words: dry, esoteric, dull, lullaby writing. Let me get one thing straight before we go on here, I don’t hate this fact. On the contrary really, I love being able to write about an idea and have someone somewhere thousands of miles away read it and understand. That’s not something to scoff at. In fact, some of my favorite writers are these esoteric types, I’m a philosophy major after all (what that means about me and my future, I don’t want to think about). So with that said, let’s get into the meat of this sucker.
Let’s get deep: I’m terrified of the finite nature of reality. That’s a little bit why writing is so appealing. It is, quite possibly, the most lasting thing humanity has created (hyperbole, but deal with me). As such, the idea of infinity suddenly seems less farfetched. If I put something to the page, a young woman 300 years from now could pick it up and understand me. And could you imagine if that girl connected with what was there? If she, 300 years removed, could look into my soul and connect? That’s goddamn beautiful if you ask me, and you did since you’re reading this (thanks for that again, by the way). But who gives a damn about philosophy in the end? How many lives can I change by writing a paper or a book about being yourself, how the authenticity of man is one of the best routes to fulfillment? Stupid question, honestly, since my hero is Albert Camus. But it’s a question that still bounces around in this head of mine, that still spits in my eye and tries to discourage me. My mind has a habit of doing that.
So this fear makes me want to write fiction. Even Camus did, The Stranger is great and I love it. But as I start trying to write, I look around and see people writing for the novel, not for the ideas. I’m an ideas man, that much I know. So when I write, sure I might do it for the character at first or for the enjoyment, but if I notice something strong, something that could be deeper with some digging, I get distracted. You might have noticed that from how this blog has derailed! But that’s what happens; my writing becomes spacey and filled with thoughts that just pour out. They’re more often than not bad ideas, I feel, but they still spill out. So suddenly my fiction turns into that esoteric stuff, just with less passive voice and a few too many adverbs.
I think a lot of it boils down to my fear of revision. I start, I look, I change, I get discouraged. “How could you be so dumb?” I ask, forgetting that we are all, ultimately, bumbling fools. But I can’t be one, I can’t allow that. And so my progress becomes glacial, crystallizing and hardening until I need a damn ice pick to even get cracking at it. And then it becomes a chore.
I don’t want it to be a chore, but I also don’t want it to just be something I do for fun, because it means so much more to me than just fun. I’m going to end this here though, I don’t want to get too much of this spewed out at once, lest I lose you and my mind. Suffice to say, I’m glad that I’m here again (for a second time, but this time I want to stay longer). I hope there was something moderately coherent in here, or something enjoyable. Maybe one of you did that beautiful thing of connecting at some point. If only we could all connect more often.