Dec. 12, 2017

When You Can Get Enough

     Over the course of the past five years, I’ve gotten hooked on few “listicle-esque” websites. I mean, their articles and essays aren’t exclusively listicles, but you know what I am getting at. Those articles with such a misleadingly insightful, clickbait headline that are ultimately just a bunch of nonsense spewed in colloquialisms that are so universally accessible that they keep getting put out into the universe because everybody can relate (!!). Don’t get me wrong, a majority of my reading is not on sites like these, but I will call them an open guilty pleasure, because at one point, I do remember them being quality. And sometimes you do find gems. And, honestly, sometimes you have to take a break from the overthinking and find some comfort in some basic (and I mean that in a multi-layered sense) sentiment about the world we can all agree with on a human level.
     I actually submitted something to one of these websites last summer, and it was denied, with the reason that it was not quite the content they were looking for, but to look into who some of my favorite writers are on that site and send a submission directly through them. It wasn’t a negative response back; however, I refused to let myself mimic another writer’s style intentionally to get published online. 

      I guess I am what you would call “a writer’s writer.” 

      There is a New Yorker article from, like, at least five years ago titled A Writer’s Writer’s Writer, and someone is quoted about explaining what exactly a writer’s writer is. Wait, the student in me can’t quote this person without properly citing, so momentary intermission from the flow to look this up.

“It’s the definition of obscurity…” 

“...someone who lives at or below the poverty line.”

     It’s Deborah Treisman who says this, who is a fiction editor (so says the article).
The article ends with a sentiment about a writer being a reader who can’t control themselves. That also might be a direct quote, but it’s 3am during finals week and I paraphrased, so I can live with that.


   I never made the decision that I loved writing--hell, I never even made the decision that I wanted to write at all or better myself as a writer. It was always just something that seemed like the  thing, you know? There’s always that thing that gets people oh-so in the zone. It’s why people love video games and why people love fantasy teams. It takes them out of their head and into something exciting they have to figure out. It is not just about the thrill from beating a level or winning in a week, but the whole emotional roller coaster involved.
      There’s the adrenaline, the competition, the disappointment that sometimes turns into a flash of anger. You know you’ve seen people throw the controller down after losing all their lives at an end of a level and having to go back to the beginning. Or that face when they’re checking their fantasy scores and they shake their head, locking their phone and setting it down with as much force as they can to get the anger out, but not enough to break their screen.
      There’s that element of “the comeback,” when all hope is lost, but then--suddenly--some sort of a “miracle” happens and everything has magically worked out in their favor.

     "I need a miracle, every day,” a line from a Grateful Dead song that is something we all are always feeling. Maybe we’d refer to it as a “win,” and not a miracle, but sometimes it is the smallest part of your day that feels like the biggest win.
      Like when you’re running late for work, but you need a coffee, and for the first time ever there is not a line at your coffee shop. Or when you have had the longest day at work, but hit every green light on the way home or catch your train perfectly and it runs without any delays. Or when you get to a bar and you realize it’s still Happy Hour for another thirty minutes.
      I mean, I am clearly one for rallying for the “minor-victories.” The mini-victories are the events in day that balance out the routine, the mundane, and the all around bullshit.

      Now that we have thoroughly exhausted the topic of why life is really about the little things, let’s revisit the whole idea that everyone needs a thing that gets them out of their own head and lets them surf through a whirlwind of emotions as a means of catharsis also known as “unwinding.”
      For me, I am trapped in the complexity of leaning more toward the “free-spirited” or *ahem* “granola girl” end of the spectrum, but have a unexpectedly difficult time allowing things to let me “unwind.” Maybe it’s because I am stubborn or maybe it is because it takes a lot of energy to break my perpetual flash flood of thoughts. Whatever it is, the thing for me that has always gotten me out of my own head since I can really remember has been writing. 

      Oh, we’re all noting the irony of the only way of breaking away is through flowing all of the clutter going on in my mind by typing some words onto a blank word document or putting a (very likely magenta or turquoise pen) onto some creamy color pages lined in forest green with the edges a faint gold that only stands out when you close the notebook and see the solid gold cluster of leaves between the purple moleskine covers. Bookends? I know that’s not what bookends are, but I wanted to put that thought out into the universe. Anyway, you can sarcastically appreciate the irony of writing being that thing for me, especially if you made it this far.


      Because I believe in cyclicity, I will take you all who have made it through the ramble aside that happened between the initial page break and the second (and final one) to the original point my abstract in-between was attempting to make. I don’t want to say these “listicle websites” are…*choosing proper diction way too carefully* umm...the enemy (?!), necessarily (must add the caveat), because they do exactly what they are intending to do. Maybe I don’t have the right voice for my generation, and I would add evidence for this at the fact that I am listening to The Band as I writing this at a time that, by general definition, of a “bedtime” is way past any bedtime.
      I am completely okay with that because we are all behind or ahead of our times, depending of which side of the “times” you’re looking at it from. I do think, though, that the point of writing is to get it all out. I mean, and then edit it later of course so you don’t sound like a total fool. But it doesn’t have to be the cookie-cutter that (again with the unintentional irony) is trying to have some edge to it in blurb form that has a read time of under two minutes. Sometimes maybe you’re reader wants to be taken through it too. Or maybe only other writer’s do, because, like that article said, a writer is, after all, a reader who can’t seem to control themselves.

      Like I said, I believe in cyclicity.