Tuesday, June 12, 2007

On Writing

Why do I blog?

Is it narcissism? Loneliness? A sense of wanting to be heard in a world where, as an individual, I'm increasingly irrelevant, crowded, pushed aside? A desire to belong to something, a clique I look up to?
Answer: None Of The Above.

More than anything, the act of writing - especially blogging - reminds me of nothing else as much as lying in the shade on a summer afternoon, building rock castles among the trees. Constructing Lego leviathans on the carpet in cool hum of the AC. Sketching portraits from magazines, the thrill when someone recognizes the person. Putting together a do-it-yourself circuit for a light-powered alarm in the middle of the night. Organizing the 42-GB MP3 collection, the photos collected over 27 years, the 500+ divx movies.

It's absorption. Self-realization. Excellence.
It's a craft.

I do it because when I do it, there's nothing else. The story starts as a vague, amorphous shape in your head and dreams, and slowly comes out through your fingers, through your mind's eye, where you see it taking shape, life. It's like watching memory in reverse, when a remembrance becomes the experience. Suddenly you can't stop, because stopping will be like slamming on the handbrake when you're crossing 60 in neutral on a downhill slope.
Or, more usually, you suddenly... wake up, with a finished story before you, several minutes - or hours - gone, and your head ringing with the aftermath of an intense trip.

And that's just the art.
As much fun - if not more - is from crafting it into something that's good. There's discipline. fonts to be standardized, justified. Pictures. Code. Widgets. Usability. Labels. Tags. Links. Captions. Infotips. Consistency. Cutting out the loose threads and ends. The spit and the polish.

And it's never a feeling that I'm making this for someone. I'm making it perfect because it has to be perfect.
It cannot be anything less than perfect because if it is, it's not what I thought it to be. It's not what it was meant to be. I can feel it, sometimes, as nearly alive, and every misplaced punctuation, misaligned table, mismatched font, misrepresentative image and mistaken link is a nagging ache, a fishhook in your mind. You can't rest until it's fixed. The story won't let you.

You can feel that it's alive.
Sometimes, there's a sense of... duality. Being outside yourself. Being someone, something else. Especially when you're in the flow; you're not you, but what you're making. And what you're making is not necessarily the same as you; it has it's own desires, wants, concepts of what it wants to be, and it won't let you rest until you make it what it wants to be. At the time, you are nothing more than a tool for it to self-create.

Coming back is a shock.
Going out... is the ultimate rush.


Post a Comment