As I type the first two words in my headline, I cringe just a little bit. Listicles, as they’ve come to be known, are the bane of my existence. Cheapening my thoughts with numbered-out points and catchy alliterations is a necessary evil: this is what people like. They want to know how much they’ll have to read before they get to the point, how much time they’re committing to and what it’s all about.
11 short, punchy bolded words prior to making the decision to click. Understandable.
This, however, is just skimming the top of the many reasons I am frustrated.
A few more explanations as to the nature of our frustration below:
1. Nothing we write is ever good enough.
Never good enough or we know it could be better. We know that the second we publish documents we’ve fawned over and scoured for hours, we’ll have inexplicable, spontaneous strokes of literary genius. This knowledge writhes within us for hours/days/months until it’s quelled by a new topic, a fresh passion, a breaking event. Another opportunity to do better than before.
2. Our pieces are our fragile children.
Sometimes we’ll write things the little voice in our heads whispers to us not to. Often we’re writing for shock value. More often we’re taking a deep breath and diving into a new level of honesty that we rationalize with ourselves will improve us as people. We’re outrageous and unaffected and say what others probably wouldn’t.
These words are our personalities, brazen and naked in a heavy, stifling crowd of millions of clothed entities.
We like to hear you. We like to read your thoughts. We’re having conversations with you, freely handing you the gift of the last word. We’re brave enough to accept that.
I write to share a single thought, an opinion or to discuss whatever the world cares about most at that moment because search engines run the world. I don’t write for me, not truly and yet it benefits me so piercingly I won’t make effort to define it.
3. We don’t sleep.
We lay. We toss and turn, words/phrases/commas/black ink lashing through our minds so loudly they actually have a sound. A cadence that reaches its peak when we meet with that one thought so rare we sometimes wonder if it ever truly existed; the one that changes everything; that may actually be the elusive articulation that would so aptly describe those thoughts we could never express just the right way prior.
4. We always want more.
Writing is an addictive activity. Putting one line of thought out there isn’t enough. Not even after the first time someone registers to publish a comment with the explicit purpose of tearing you apart from the seams. It strengthens you, tests you, makes you feel invincible. What else could you weather that could be so daunting as to have your humanity ravaged? There is nothing else.
We don’t film; no one has the context of our expressions or the luxury of being acquainted with our personalities, and thus lacks the ability to utilize relativity or any true perspective. They have just these words. They make people angry and happy, and sometimes make them laugh. It’s my hope that sometimes I make someone smile.
5. We see the things we read and write played out like movies in our heads.
Maybe a black widow crawls up her leg, its spindly limbs paving the path to the soft pink place it may or may not pierce skin, ending both her life and our time with her character. Its bright red stomach grazing the willowy hairs of her body, traversing the curves and crevices like a sailboat during a storm.
Creating worlds is a beautiful thing. Sometimes they’re dark beyond measure. Sometimes they’re illuminated and kind. We can see every tiny aspect, and it is our task to craft it. These worlds are quite possibly the only things that are ever truly ours. And although this might sound like a curse, it is a gift beyond measure.