Saturday, April 16, 2011

Reality check: why am I doing this?

Consider some of the "great writers" time. My experience at a small, private liberal arts college (however flagrantly and showily out of the mainstream it may have been) exposed me to a veritable cornucopia of literary and other composed works dedicated to or inspired by lovers, admired public figures, friends, pets, and just about everything else from cars to certain features of the anatomy. Even if the author's intended consumer, target, appreciator, critic, or what have you was simply "whoever picks up and reads this thing what I wrote," or "I'm just doing this for myself, bee-yotches," there was still someone - anyone - on the receiving end of that writing.

You don't exist yet beyond the simple physiological reality that some egg floating around in my lady-parts will eventually combine with some lovingly contributed genetic goodies to make you. You are, in fact, the kind of abstract possibility that I can accept about as readily as aliens. There's a really good chance you're somewhere, but until I get proof, I'll just keep watching reruns of "The X-Files" and daydreaming fondly of your potentiality. You are, put simply, a perfect audience.

I love writing, and over the years, my aspirations have shifted from, "I will write the great American novel!" to, "Maybe I'll publish my own short story collection!" to, "Er...I should try to publish anything, or at least spend more than an hour or two a month trying to write at some coffee shop," to finally, "Crap, I haven't written anything in ages; this is getting sort of lame, so maybe I'll start a blog?" Thankfully, with that depressing progression came the realization that personal essays are probably the medium in which I will have the greatest success. I love talking about myself (you're welcome, internet readers!), and the fact that I am quite anal-retentive about the mechanics of language becomes a stylistic boon in that particular format. I basically got kicked out of my college's creative writing program for adhering too closely to commonly accepted rules of usage, so this is my quiet revenge.

Okay, so a blog is a good idea. It forces me to spend deliberate and meaningful time writing. It's a nice opportunity to continue practicing my written voice, my execution of stylistic application, and the self-aggrandizement that basically doesn't come out (except by accident or Freudian slip) in my normal daily routine. If my experience as an educator has taught me nothing, it's that there is a profound need for an authentic audience for any assignment. Who's going to read that paper? Your teacher? Big whoop: you can phone that in, keep it totally generic, and still get a passing grade. Wait, it's being sent to the town newspaper as an editorial, to be read by every damn person in your postal code? Shit, you'd better check your commas and not repeat the phrase "I guess I think..." sixteen times.

That's where you come in. You are my authentic audience. If I was just vomiting my opinions and weird childhood reflections onto the internet, I really don't think I'd be any better than certain egocentric celebrities who have built cults of personality based solely upon their ability to put stuff in or on other stuff in a pleasing fashion. (I still buy the magazine in airports sometimes, I'll admit.) Batman, I know it will be a while before I let you read this, and not just because I believe strongly in the right of every individual to swear whenever it is fitting to the situation. Still, knowing that someday, someone who will doubtlessly mean the world to me will read this and know me better for it...that's all the motivation I need.

1 comment:

  1. What about other entries for the second and third born children?

    Do you want to distinguish other blogs or entries for them or is "Batman" the collective Gay child?