I do not write often, which is also another way to say that I have all but abandoned writing. Reason being, I hate my writing now. The sentences tend to be longer than I would like them and this makes them hard to read. I, however, find myself talking to young creatives and telling them to put their thoughts down. Even if they do not feel like it, I tell them they have to try and do at least 400 words a day, that will preserve and improve their skill. I urge them to write even when their thoughts have no context. This you see, is the dilemma of the creative, what is the context of my thoughts? To what end am I writing? When you are a creative, I tell them, self expression is an end in itself.
I feel guilty almost immediately after saying this. Not so much because I do not follow my own advice but, the painful question that follows my advice; “on what authority are you telling them to do this? Who are you? Can you be considered a creative?” I know I said question (singular) and went on to ask several. This is because there is no way to summarize in one statement what comes over me during these moments. It sounds like a a question, not a statement but it could also be a series of them, if I had to speak them out. I don’t. These many questions feel like one. It is a single idea that makes me avoid talking to creatives in case I advice them and wonder if I even know what I am talking about.
So I have let my writing wilt. I have even abandoned proactive tweeting. Not by choice. When you stop writing it is like skipping gym. It all starts with missing leg day. In writing this could be compared to skipping a difficult topic, or convincing yourself that context matters and so you will save the words for the right time. But, words, you see, do not need your saving. They can almost be considered a renewable resource if only we gave them their rightful placein our lives. They are valuable but not because they are rare. In fact, I think that their value draws from their abundance. The many ways in which words can be combined to communicate makes them the single most important resource available to man.
I have lost the flow. This, is a good thing for me. I do not mean losing the flow but being able to write that I have. Not that I am ashamed of it, it is just that I would never, in the past, considered that something worth writing. Because it lacked context. Why would you need to know that? How would it inspire you, motivate you or even educate you?
Writing is its own end. I may write something that moves you and I would hope I do. What I won’t do, and this is a recent change, I will not write just for you. I will write. Not even just for me, I will write for the words, for my random thoughts and even when there is just no context.
When I started typing, I had every intention at some point, in this piece, to introduce you. Sounds like a hanging statement but it is not. Let me explain. I intended to introduce you. To say who I think you are and maybe even call your my imaginary friend. I had every intention of making the piece about you and who I think you are. I was to imagine how you got here and why you have kept reading this. When I was young, TV introduced me to the concept of imaginary friends. The idea seemed fascinating and it was credited to the wild imagination of children. I had friends (real ones) that had imaginary friends. Some had a couple of them. I really wanted one, to talk to, share my thoughts with, have them hold me when I was down. I never got one. I figured I had to create them in my mind. I had to imagine what they looked like and build their personality. I was then meant to rely on my creation for companionship.
This felt stupid. So I did not get myself an imaginary friend. I figured they would never be objective enough to help me as I would have to imagine what they would say to me. In place of imaginary friends I thought of real people I knew and imagined them in different scenarios. I created whole stories around them and this seemed like a better outlet. I still do it. I study people and when I think I know them well enough, I create conversations with them. In my head. You might have thought that I would end up saying that imagining friends is crazy and stupid and talking real people was much more sane. Or you didn’t. Either way this was not a piece about why not to have imaginary friends. It’s not even about the right way to imagine. It is just about acknowledging the part that imagination plays in our lives.
Why I brought up imaginary friends was a digression from your introduction. I still meant to introduce you. I considered calling you my imaginary friend. But you are not imaginary now, are you? You are reading this and I suppose that makes you real. But I can still imagine who you are, how you got here. I can image where you are as you read this, the device that you are reading on. I also have to imagine that you are reading this.