May 11, 2015
The usual purpose for what I write is clarity: I’ve always been convinced that if I use the right words and the right amount of words I will at some point understand whatever it is that I need to understand and that time and practice will reveal the perfect and accurate sentences and everything will make sense.
So far, the results have not been brilliant: I can’t honestly affirm that the miles of text I’ve written (whether public or not) have put me any closer to understanding what hurts me, infuriates me or fascinates me and, with time and age, the premise that such perfect words and accurate sentences even exist at all is becoming increasingly suspect.
I do not write for the sake of the words themselves in admiration of their phonetic harmony. I find it very confusing to read an introspection that sounds like a random aggregation of fragments which the author thinks are beautiful enough on their own (normally using a, to me, very pedestrian, shallow and debatable concept of “beautiful”) and that as such they dispense with the need for any kind of structure, reasoning, message or even purpose, other than having the author being told how beautifully it is written. Yes, I am aware that poetry and many forms of stream of consciousness could maybe be interpreted that way, but poetry has its own rules: they do things differently there.
My confusion is not the result of an evaluation of pure literary value, seen that I have no authority or skill to judge it, but it is one of procedure: if the intention is personal scrutiny it seems to me that it would be better served if there was some evidence of a (even if only somewhat) structured inner dialogue.
Sadly what I often see online is easily digestible vaguely philosophical tripe, bits that you can ‘like’ or ‘republish’ without having to engage in any kind of intellectual activity which might help to elevate the mind from its comfortable state of insipid stupor: I suspect that most run away from sublation as if it were a character flaw too embarrassing to confess in public.
In their defence the prospect of being pulled into an infinite exercise in Fichtean dialectic, in permanent search of Aufhebung takes more time and effort than scribbling a few oh so beautiful words about “Love”, “Life” or “Purpose” (always capitalised) or the cause célèbre du jour, the bottom of this pit being obviously posting pictures of your cat as a sufficient statement of personal ethics or esthetics. I am not saying that it is wrong to do it but rather that I can’t see the point possibly because of shortcomings of my own.
My only certainty is that I, for myself, need to write even if often I’m not particularly fond of it, less reaching for beautiful words than I am reaching for some kind of order.
For the record, I haven’t decided at some moment in my life that writing would be the better idea: the words themselves seem to have claimed me, before I even had a memory of them and I have never discovered a way to escape them even if I usually want to. Frankly I’d mostly rather listen to music or enjoy a good meal with friends, for instance, if only the words could leave me alone at those moments. But they don’t, they never do, ever. It’s a torrent that can’t be contained.
The reasons for this are partly obvious and can be ascribed to the usual explanations: yes, I read, but most importantly I write, regardless of the value (literary or otherwise) it may have to others. I write here, on notebooks, on loose sheets of paper, on napkins, envelopes, restaurant receipts and anything that can be scribbled upon. It’s no mystery that writing lots makes you want to — or maybe need to — write more, recursive as that sounds.
I have no idea how I suddenly find myself painted into a corner, writing about why writing will help me understand writing, still dissecting words and sentences, still looking for the perfect and accurate ones, in a whole new maze of contrapuntal derivations.
What I do know is that if the only comment I elicit, from you or myself, is any variation of “it’s beautifully written”, then I’ve failed.
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