Writing to and fro

First, a little disclaimer, or public announcement. Aren’t the two basically parallel anyway?

The sound of static, white noise on this blog will be broken today. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. “This time will be the good one.” Good/last/final/great/best, insert other adjective that tickles your fancy.

Honestly, I’ve found it difficult to write for the past few months. As one does when one’s tired and feels just slightly overwhelmed by the amount of work and effort regular life takes up. It really makes me wish I’d do nothing else than write and think. I’d be happy doing just that. Indefinitely.

I’ve been keeping this kind of under wraps: I’ve been working on a novel. Of course, I’ve always been working on a novel, this is nothing new. But now I’ve been working on a novel with a purpose. I’m partaking in a contest, and the deadline is in early May. For the past four months, I’ve done little else than a) do school work, or b) write my novel. In many ways, it’s my ideal work situation: online, variation and writing. I thought I’d do great.

But April is like that pretentious fucker at every party who brings out the guitar just when people are drunk enough to not tell him off. Suddenly a nice gathering becomes a jam-karaoke-I’m-going-to-pretend-like-I-don’t-want-everyone’s-approval-kind of thing. It sneaks up on you, and when it hits, you’re suddenly dead tired and just want to go to sleep.

I’m stressed about work, my finances, school, politics and my own expectations on myself. I’m exhausted. Not the kind of exhausted that is relieved with sleep (although it would help if I did it more), but the kind that doesn’t let go. Ingrained dirt on your skin. Scrubbing doesn’t get it off.

March-April is always a hectic time. I’m just going to keep pushing for a month, finish my novel, kick ass at school because I can’t stand half-assing anything, and then let up the pressure. Of course, then I have to start doing work I actually get paid for. I’ll bite that bullet when the time comes.

I don’t live in a delusion that anyone’s been losing sleep due to the lack of my blogging discipline. I’m just saying that if you too feel overwhelmed and exhausted, I feel you and I’m sorry. Do what you have to do.

Now, onto the actual blog post.

Is writing dead?

Back in the early 2000’s, after the Internet bubble burst and the .com took over, we saw an uprising of bloggers. Simple text was the easiest and cleanest way to put out information online. Things have escalated slightly. Today the majority of the legal Internet’s traffic is due to Youtube. Text has been transformed into pictures and sound.

Not to undermine the filmmakers; the amount of planning and skill necessary to make a beautiful, original clip is astounding, and I’d lift my hat for you if I wore one. However, filmmakers are thriving of the fact that the consumer’s concentration ability has declined drastically. Sound and pictures don’t have to be well thought out and planned (although it’s great if they are) for people to look at them. The average consumer reminds me of a small child fascinated by bright colours.

The written word is worse off. Blog texts don’t demand much skill, either: texts are supposed to be short (more than 1000 words are looked down upon), sentences are preferred to be shorter, the language preferably simplified. ‘This is what the consumer wants’, they say. ‘People get bored.’

Press snooze on boredom

Is being bored the worst thing? We have billionaires donating obscene amounts of money to Notre Dame while children are dying in factories in Africa and Asia. The individual is getting the blame for climate change while technologies that could save the planet aren’t getting the attention and support they’d need. Did a little boredom ever do anything worse than spark a will to do something about it?

Maybe a little boredom could inspire a more interactive lifestyle, instead of a static, one-sided gaze on a screen? Instead of whining over how unfair life is – because it is, of course it is – one could try making it fair.

I realize that my passion for writing in my preferred manner (my long sentences are an homage to late Victorian literature. I’d do corsets, but they’re uncomfortable) is not the ideal way of reaching a large audience. I’m aware that I don’t represent the fast-paced, eager consumer on Instagram. Or maybe I do. A person can do many things.

I’m just saying that it’s not the worst thing if the consumer gets a little bored from time to time. My texts demand thought and work to make sense. Reading stimulates the brain, fiction enhances sympathy and fact broadens knowledge. Leafing through a magazine or a book lowers anxiety levels and helps with concentration. Meanwhile, staring at a screen and scrolling through social media is bad for the eyes, the brain and the mental health.

If that’s your passion, do you. But like Céline Dion, I can’t turn this (wildly gesturing around here) down from an eleven to a five. Traditionally, I’ve tried to apologize for that, or tried to find reasons to justify why I specifically should be allowed to write. Since it unfortunately seems like I’m burning for a dying art. Hopelessly writing words in a world that only wants to look at pictures.

Honey. You can do whatever you want, and it’s validated even though nobody will ever know. Your actions aren’t valuated by the response you get, but by what you get out if it. Isn’t it comforting to think that the universe doesn’t care that much, that you can do whatever makes your heart soar?

I’ll keep telling myself that, and hope that someday I just might believe it myself.

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