Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Back in preschool

One of the things I struggle with the most in my writing is not being straightforward. As a rule, and as evidenced by these blogs, I tend to spell everything out. First in terms of generic descriptions. Then by providing examples. Then by clarifying those examples and perhaps relating them to general truths and personal anecdotes that bring the argument back around to those initial descriptions. It's this weird little circle of information followed by clarified information until all the whimsy of any story has disappeared from view.

And I guess this is the style I most enjoy, most thrive in, most love.

But lately, and throughout my young adult life, I've seen so many films, television shows, plays, etc. that rely on a closer examination. They expect a level of intellectual concern in their audience, the kind of absorption in a story that requires them to think so desperately hard just to understand the simplest of plot points. It's true in visual art too. Where there are stories implied, the audience is required to be more actively participating.

Sometimes when I write these blogs, I worry that I'm not asking anyone to be an active participant. This mostly arises because of how storytelling makes most sense to me - from a writer's perspective anyway.

You see, when I start reading or watching or "absorbing" something, I tend to be the kind of person who enjoys the adventure of seeing and then deconstructing until every part of the story makes sense to me. No matter how I twist and change it in my mind, there's an unspoken knowledge available to me of the meaning behind the allegory or the metaphor or the irony or whatever other literary device.

I love having the power to manipulate stories so that they make sense to me.

I think it is this precise deconstruction that makes me the type of writer that I am - the kind who lives to explain everything fully.

For this reason, my essays always run at least 200-400 words over established limits. My answers to questions in discussion sections are verbose and roundabout as I make sense of my own arguments as I'm making them. My storytelling is not in chronological order and it relies on a certain awareness of the immense intricacies of interconnectedness within a story. In other words, what happens needs not happen sequentially, but it must come together in a sequential and sensible manner.

I've had a lot of people ask me how I write my blogs each day. How is it possible that I can crank out hundreds of words at the drop of a hat. Once a night, I just sit down and produce thoughts as if it's no big deal.

Well for me it really is no big deal. My overactive mind does this sort of literary deconstructing 24 hours a day and seven days a week, after all.

When I write, I tend to do what I do in daily life, which is to take in all considerations - from cultural knowledge to personal experience to current surroundings, etc. - and match them up until I've found a worthy and coherent storyline. Nothing is false, but it is concocted.

I think this is what makes me a journalist. Maybe a good one, maybe a bad one. But a journalist nonetheless.

I'm born to tell a story that informs and deconstructs for the audience. If something doesn't make sense, my goal is to address it in such a way that clarifies it. As a blogger, I've learned what an immense power that is - to make sense of something in life that seemed too complicated.

Still, when I go to plays or listen to music or partake in many other mediums, I'm astonished with the power of the authors behind the works to imply so much with so little. Since childhood on, I've had professors and teachers tell me that less can be more. If you can cut down extraneous words, your arguments, your storytelling will be better.

But I've always been one to frill up my stories. I use sophisticated words, introduce what I believe to be universal mass culture only to discover that I'm more a hipster than I'd like to believe I am.

However, it's not because I wish to make them too elaborate, but because I feel as though the best way for me to get through to an audience is to be honest with them. And my honesty comes in the form of writings of detail and analysis.

So much analysis, in fact, that perhaps it becomes a nuisance to others.

Occasionally I wonder what my readership would actually prefer to read. Though there are only a select group of people reading these writings every night (I don't know who you are, but I do have some statistics available to me), I almost wish I could hear their voices and let that impact how I write. Because in a way, I've been pigeonholed into becoming that almost novelist-ready deconstructer of thoughts. But there's nothing wrong with implying rather than telling.

It's what they wanted us to do back in preschool during show and tell. Show us, don't just tell us. Prove to use why whatever it is you're showing the world is important.

I still have trouble proving that there's any worth in my writing. I don't believe I've made any profound effect on a person's life. I don't necessarily think I can bring clarity to a society that so enjoys being shrouded in mystery.

All I do think and know is that the best feeling in the world is to understand something. And with my style of thinking and writing, I've finally brought some clarity back into this strange universe, if only for myself. But I guess that's my primary focus. And in the meantime I'll enjoy thinking just a bit too much.

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