There is so much more that I don’t post, than I post in this space. Mostly because of fear. I start in a moment, in a mood, so clear, so defined that everything I write has cohesion and relevance. At there are times when I maintain and stick it out and click on publish, totally willing to have my point of view inflicted on the world, and to have the world (which I’m fairly certain consists of about 12 people) reflect and judge and either find delight, repugnance of something more moderate in these things that I write.
As of this posting, my draft folder is dangerously full. Not in the sense that I’m running out of space so much as I’m getting to the point where I’m not accurately representing how I feel all the time. Which, to be honest, was part of the reason I started doing this in the first place.
I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. Although I don’t consider myself thus, I do think of myself as someone who writes (not as often as she could) just not necessarily a writer. And no, I do not believe that one must get paid for writing to be a writer, though that would be nice. It’s more of a commitment than I’m giving over to it at this point in my life.
When I was younger, say age 10 through 21, I was a writer. I didn’t always write well, but I always wrote. It seemed to be how my brain kept from being anxious. For a time after that, I was busy, I was occupied, working and having fun and creating with light and colour and surrounded by music, there was a good balance there. The writing didn’t feel as necessary. But when I look back at some of the problems I had, some of the things that I struggled with, I realize that writing could have saved me a lot of torment. It’s always been this way. The periods of my life when I’ve had the most hardship, the most struggle, were the times when I didn’t write. Anything. At all. Even if it was just a small silly rhyming poem about how intolerant I find cheese. Or a haiku about buying shoes.
I started this blog back in whatever year it was, in preparation for a trip that I would be taking. A simple way for me to communicate my adventures to my family and friends back home, not just to share in the journey, but to afford a certain peace of mind that everything was okay with me. It’s scary to leave home and move around the planet alone, without any plan or thought of what might happen to you in a strange place where you don’t speak the language, especially if you insist, as I do, on travel through somewhat unconventional means, such as hitchhiking or trainhopping. (I’ve never actually hopped on a train. I’ve always had aspirations to do so, perhaps because my grandfather did, or because of a desire to know the country you never see unless you take a train, but I always chickened out, maybe one day I’ll hop a train.)
My previous trip to Europe, I wrote unbelievably long emails to a list of people that grew larger with every missive sent, as word got out that I would do that. Some were tailored to smaller groups of friends, some to just my folks, but no matter what was happening during the adventure, I was never lost because my thoughts were collected, compartmentalized, conveyed.
It just seemed easier to keep a blog, posted and shared so that whoever wanted to could access it at any time. I do feel a certain obligation to it, as it should be. If I don’t send an email to someone in particular, they have no idea that I’ve been intending to write and there’s no expectation when I don’t follow through. But with this, every entry is dated, every moment that I’ve sent information into the world captured on a screen. Sure, I can edit it later or alter the content or delete it, but at some point, it went out. It was made real, if that makes sense. And when the space of time between those dates gets farther and farther apart, it makes me realize that my brain will need to be taken for a walk sooner than later.
I feel as though the things I publish somehow have more substance to them than the scores of unpublished drafts I have, not only stored online within this site, but on my computer, on various hard drives, in paper form. Actually no, not in paper form. For some reason, that medium feels more realistic to me than digital ever could. That might change in the future. It could be with the introduction of touch sensitive keyboards, writing will come back into vogue and the written word will be translated by computer to be comprehensible.Or perhaps there will be fonts for drunken poet, laudanum induced visionary, late night scribbler by candlelight. Because the written word, the actual, hand written word, is more romantic to me than any other form.
But I digress, as the whole point of this post is to illuminate how often I get distracted from my original intention. The place I often start, when writing, transforms to become so unrecognizable to me that I will at times just stop. Sift what I’ve written into the drafts folder, under various subheadings of too frivolous, too scattered, not pertinent to the mood I am now in, not pertinent to the mood the world is now in.
The reality is, there is every chance that one day I will write or share something that will resonate to such an extent that it might go viral. That’s a very real thing now. We’re so technologically advanced and globally aware that our ability to share things instantly and with no consideration of consequence is par for the course. I don’t expect that I would write something so profound or uncanny or illuminating that it would end up being read or seen by millions, but even the thought of hundreds makes me nervous on some level. There are many blogs and writers and creative people who are incredibly insightful that I follow, but don’t link to, because I’m not ready for the possibility that one of the other many people who follow them might notice the link and end up here. It’s not because I don’t think the majority of people who are reading and searching and following are not, like me, seekers of hilarity or comfort or joy or knowledge. It’s the very very few who are filled with fear and doubt and envy and in some instances, hatred and venom to an extent that I can’t fathom.
I’ve watched the trolls of the internet attempt to tear apart people I admire (Amanda Palmer, Anita Sarkeesian) or use their creative and clever awesomeness without crediting them, regardless of how simple it is to do so (Patti Ford, Matthew Inman) and then earn money or props for being clever while they have to fight you to get you to stop?
Perhaps an argument can be made, “oh that’s the interwebs for you,” I would say nuh-uh. I prefer my interwebs to be a little more respectful than that. Naive, I know, but that’s just how I am. Blissfully determined that people will get friendlier, once they grasp that the world is larger than their pettiness. It’s not up to me to convince anyone that they’re right or wrong. Though I would suggest that signing up to a message board as anonymous and spewing vitriol all over someone’s creative effort is an act of cowardice and major jackassery. That’s the other side of having many fans and followers. At a certain point, you’re subject to people who would consider that you speak for them, you understand them and so have a responsibility to them to continue writing and entertaining them. That part freaks me out. I can’t presume to speak for anyone, regardless of how similar our experiences are, we’re still very different people, entitled to react as individuals.
So for the time being, I’ll work on writing for myself and the very few who stumble across this, until my skin gets a bit thicker. Or the internet gets kinder. Or maybe I’ll never be famous on the internet. That would be okay too.