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A friend of mine, I’ll call her “Mary,” told me a few days weeks ago that she wished I would write more. That the comments I leave on our friends blogs are so good, that I should write. Hah. I said. And then, as I do, I thought – overly hard about this particular statement. For a long time. Why don’t I write? I know that commenting on a blog is not the same as writing one, but I read, I follow writers, I must love the act of writing, right? I feel like sometimes I have something to say, I have a blog (of course who doesn’t), that I never use, I have a journal, er or I had one at one point, but seem to have lost it. Prophetic I think.
It turns out, after endless minutes (ok days) of reflection, I realized that I don’t write because I am a computer. Let me explain, or sum up.
I generally have no problem commenting on the choice few (15 or so) blogs I choose to read on a regular basis. I feel that these are friends of mine, sharing pieces of their lives with me so I respond back in the only way I can – I acknowledge what they said and ramble on endlessly about some tangential thing. I usually sign with xo and or a silly smiley face 🙂 as my signature. Great. Then I move along. Seems normal huh? But wait, what if I were to sit down in front of a computer (daunting) or a great notebook (Docket pad with narrow rule) with a favorite pencil, Ticonderoga #2 (much more comfortable) and start to write something? Well I’ve tried it, but it usually looks like this:
Then I need a nap. Good thing I do not make a living writing. Well actually I do, but not the creative type, the type a computer can do. Input in….process…output results. Yes, I am the author of 10 or so peer-reviewed publications that nobody, including, I think, some of the reviewers, have ever read. Yippee. Well I enjoy it, but it is not creative, not in a human kind of way anyway. So here it is, the part where I get serious-ish.
It turns out that I lack the ability to have and express a genuine emotion, without the aid of input. Hmm, that sounds kind of dirty, so let me explain further. I love my friends, I am a Taurus after all, if you believe in that sort of thing, you probably know three things – my birthday is somewhere between 21 April and 21 May, I am stubborn, and I am loyal. It’s the last trait I am referring to here. I love my friends, so when they post a touching or moving or brave (usually they are all three), post on their blog – I am so touched, I am provoked(?) – I must respond. So I write something. Input in…process…output results. Just like a zero one machine. When I think I am going to write something that is as moving or as meaningful or something that is fiction I (see picture above).
I need input in order to respond emotionally, hell I need input in order to feel emotions. If, as I do frequently, I am sitting on my couch with knitting needles in my hand, I am – content. But like Putty on an airplane (Seinfeld episode, Google it), I’m pretty much a blank slate. I sit, I knit. I “rest” my brain. No emotions come over me, unless of course I fuck up a piece. No new amazing thoughts race through my head, no new inventions or stories or ideas are formed.
I can respond emotionally (and sincerely) to something someone says or writes, but I cannot wax poetic about how I feel about you, trees, jackasses or losers, unless I am given something to react to. “Mary” and other friends I know, can create an idea from a picture, another blog, from their lives or from nothing – poof an idea is born. I envy that ability to create an emotion and to be able to express it.
Is that weird? Um, no wait, I mean is that too weird? I don’t know. I pretty much just realized this the other day. I think it isn’t normal, I think I may know why I am like this, but that’s a whole other post, and one I’m not sure I’m not ready to write.
So I thank “Mary” and “T” and “Becky” all fictitious names I *swear* for their encouragement, but I am not a person who can write. Until you can imagine, or feel or provoke a creative feeling out of something – other than responding to or mimicking another’s emotions, I don’t think you can write anything of substance. I don’t think you can write. And just to make one thing clear – I don’t really want to be a writer, I don’t think. I would just like to be able to think, to feel and to express an emotion, as a writer does. This post, is it substantive? Maybe, for me, but it began as a process after input from “Mary” so it’s basically just a bunch of zeros and ones.
*these may or may not be their real names*