My goal has always been to one day write the great American novel (I mean… what else do you do with a Master of Arts in English besides dust it occasionally?), but the task of writing a book is a daunting one. I spent a year writing and rewriting my Master’s thesis, entitled “Batman, Dexter, and the Law: The Reciprocal Nature of Consent by and for the Superhero Vigilante,” and it was only three chapters. I lost my mind while trying to appease the lofty expectations of my brilliant thesis committee, and it is still so hard for me to grapple with the idea of actually writing a novel. Still, I write all the time. After all, we are what we repeatedly do, and if I don’t write, I know I am not and will not be a writer. I have to write.
That being said, I have had more fun than should be allowed writing articles for Thought Catalog. Long before I ever wrote anything for this site, I read it every day, scrolling for articles that caught my eye, and really trying to digest the complicated view points and food for thought (punny, I know) from people all over the world, and from all walks of life. In conversation last night, my boyfriend asked me why I find it worthwhile to write for Thought Catalog. Why do I spend time writing to contribute to a page that is not a literary journal? Why do I spend time writing something for which I will not be monetarily compensated? Why do I contribute to a site that publishes articles of no true category or genre? It was a valid question, but it also really made me examine the importance of a site like Thought Catalog.
Thought Catalog and other forums for creativity like it, such as Society 6 for art, Etsy, etc., are so vital in that they revive the art of being able to speak one’s opinion and not only receive feedback, but spur on the creative thoughts of others. Thought Catalog reminds me of the town center, the Mercat Cross of English towns in the Middle Ages, where any man or woman could nail up a document, stand and speak, without the worry of being edited or censured. Thought Catalog provides us with that essential link to the human experience that is often limited to university classrooms, and it is no wonder that articles like “How to Survive your 20s” are so incredibly popular. Thought Catalog is a modern forum upon which to stand and spin out our beliefs or ponderings. I believe that we are all lost, and we are seeking to read that connection, that truth that we can attest to about this mortal life. Though often we tire of reading these perspectives and advice, to someone who is new to Thought Catalog, or perhaps someone who stumbles upon a specific article, the truth or angles in these pieces might be found at just the right moment. These articles have the potential to connect us, to inspire us, to teach us, or to spur us on to disagree and form our own opinions.
From the moment I set foot onto my university campus, I knew I was going to be an English major. It has been my passion since I was young, and I remember being in my very first poetry class in 8th grade at my humanities and communication arts school in DC, reading “A Noiseless Patient Spider” by Walt Whitman, and feeling mentally awakened. There, in the lines of a poem, I recognized something that I felt, skillfully written by someone of whom I did not know. Walt Whitman and I are separated by years, death, time, and places, yet through writing, I know that something in our human experience unites us, binds us.
We all feel alone, but in truth, we are all together in this winding river of mortality. Writing is an essential bonding agent, and it should not be limited to those who like to read classics or poetry. Writing is something that should be shared, and Thought Catalog enables that sharing without prejudice and without the elitism of the publishing industry.
When we write, we fashion pieces of ourselves into our writing. Some words stay with those who read them forever, and that is what I have always loved about reading and writing. We have the opportunity to see places we have never been, and meet people who died long before we were born. The magic lies within the recognition of emotions we also feel, thoughts we agree with, even across hundreds of years. We are all human, and we are writing to assess this uncanny experience. Thought Catalog might not be a literary journal, but I stand behind its importance as a collection of social and perhaps even spiritual findings about what life is like today. I hope people never stop writing, and I hope people never stop sharing what they feel, think, and appreciate. I hope there is always a place where we can nail up our theses, shout out our poetry, and read the words of others that have the potential to influence our lives ever after.