This is the first part of a two-part argument that I seem to be constantly having with myself. The second half, Writing is Useful, will be posted on Thursday.
If this site exists for one reason, its for me to write. If it exist for a second reason, it’s so I’ll be listened to. If it exists for a third reason if so I can make a few dollars. If it exists for a fourth reason it’s so that’ll I’ll eventually get to appear on a late night talk show. If it–it’s clear we’ve hit the point of diminishing return on this game, let’s move on.
I have a sometimes-tenuous relationship with this blog. Once I was convinced it would help me change the world. Once I decided that it proved I was an egomaniac. Once I decided that I could do whatever I wanted with it. Once I decided that it was the magazine I’ve always looked for but never found.
Those are just the opinions about it I remember having. I don’t doubt there are more, though they probably either weren’t expressed here, or weren’t expressed very clearly.
But if the variety of the ways I’ve looked at this blog prove nothing else, they make a point of this: I’m wasting words all over this blog. I’ve regularly disagreed with myself–see these divergent thoughts on ignorance for example. What I’m doing, in short, is wasting words and adding to the noise. And we all know how I feel about noise.
My hypocrisy proves this essential point: my writing is wasteful. Even more, writing done in most places for most reasons is wasteful. People elsewhere have said it better, more eloquently, with a larger vocabulary, or greater modesty. There is, in short, no point in your writing anything.
For a less personal example, consider all the strained remakes that Hollywood has made in recent years. Few were memorable, except as reminders of how good some old movies are. In their averageness, these remakes made the most widely-watched case for a complete moratorium on writing by anyone but journalists–who must be allowed the privilege to convey novel events from around the world.
And consider the soon-to-be-forgotten strike by the Writer’s Guild of America. Though doom and gloom seemed to be the picture that emerged when the strike began, the rather quiet resolution proves how little the scribes were actually missed. The late-night comedians proved that not having writers doesn’t make what they’re doing much better or worse.
The simple fact is, with all that you’re thinking of writing, going to write, or would like to writ, someone somewhere has said it better, thought it better, or written it better. Your words do little more than take up space on hard drives across the internet. Few read them, and even fewer would notice their absence. There’s no sense in writing anything.
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