Writing About Writing: Ugh, It's Come To This: Simultaneously A Rebuttal To Claims That I Should Write A Book Or Somesuch And An Apology For The Inane Scribblings I Have Subjected You To For These Past Months
Again, I'd love to. What could be better than to make marks on paper (or the modern equivalent) for a living?
Fact is: there are many reasons why I probably never will.
For one, I simply lack skill. Usually it's all I can do to cludge words together into coherent sentences that contain what meaning I want them to. Not infrequently, I fail at even that, and only manage to approximate or give up altogether.
And to get these sentences to cohere into paragraphs is toil, and whole compositions you can just forget about.
This meager facility with prose is probably why my writing is empty of style. And style is something I value highly in writing. Any style you may perceive in any of my ramblings is pretty much illusory, and merely a result of my aforementioned retardedness. In their way, even young children have a style to their writing.
All I really have to offer in my writing are insights, and even those are few and far between. And insights have nothing to do with abilities, either as a writer or as a person. They are divine favors bestowed upon me and I share them with you as I would share lottery winnings. Likewise, some I keep for myself.
I also have very little imagination (which is why I've never really been able to write fiction). I read guys like Pynchon and Gibson and find worlds so rich and full, so deep, deeper and richer and fuller than my own real world seems, except on occasion. This is probably because I'm pretty unobservant.
Which brings me to the next point: I'm pretty unobservant. I don't notice most things unless I'm looking for them or they're right in my face. I imagine this has something to do with my lack of imagination.
So why do I write, then? Those reasons are various, but I'd like to start with something that's conspicuously absent from that list.
I don't write, and never have written, to try to make anyone understand the military experience. As someone who has been interested in the military for as long as he can remember, who has read about, watched movies and TV shows about, and listened fascinatedly to stories about military and war his whole life, being in the military is like nothing I imagined. And I knew going into it that none of my preconceived notions would be accurate, but this! Pretty much no aspect of military life or war is anything like I expected, and in ways I obviously can't express.
Yes, military life is hard, but not how you'd think. Yes, war is absurd, but in a totally absurd way. Yes, I'd love to be able to make you understand, but I don't have the ability, and neither did the writers of all those things I read prepare me for what was to come.
And, yes, I know, probably most experiences are this way, but not to this degree. You can read about rock-climbing, or going to school, or wine-tasting, and have some idea of what to expect, and that idea won't be so ridiculously bogus. It's all crazy, in crazy ways, ways so crazy I can't gesticulate wildly enough to give you an inkling.
Imagine me gesticulating as wildly as I can, arms and legs flailing, eyes bulging and hair and aura rising, anime-style. Nope, you still have no inkling.
Anyway. So, yeah, I don't really even bother with that. I write to share some of my aforementioned (few and far between) insights. I write to let you know how I'm doing. I write to clarify things in my own memory, to properly order them in my mind. I write to share my feelings and because as bad a writer as I am, I'm probably a worse storyteller. Sometimes I write simply out of a desperate need to communicate.
I write because I enjoy it. I like to manipulate words and I like the power of wielding symbols.
Reading through this, I hope I'm not giving the impression of trying to sound modest. I'm not a very modest person. (Or am I just being modest about my modesty? Ugh.) I really do feel this way about my abilities as a writer.
I suppose and hope these things I lack: observation, imagination, and style, and simple command of language, are things that will get better with life experience and practice. Maybe someday I will improve at these things enough to (by my own standards) rise above mediocrity. Then maybe I'll write a book.