Thursday, May 21, 2015

Writing and...

Writing and what? I don't know. I'm having trouble organizing my thoughts and trying to articulate them in a coherent manner tonight. I guess I'll just keep typing and see what comes out.

Okay, so fairly recently I've decided that I want to get back into writing. Not the please think my research isn't a waste of the past several years of my life kind of writing I'll have to do to publish in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. And not the please, please, PLEASE give me money so I don't have to wash and reuse pipette tips, leading me to subsequently have to quit science altogether for a better-paying job at McDonald's kind of writing that's involved in applying for grant funding. Ooh, I really hate begging for money grant writing. I don't want to get myself more worked up about it, so I'm going to set that topic down now and back away from it slowly.

The older I get and the more stuff I read, the more I think that writing is not only technical (spelling, parts of speech, syntax, etc.), but also an art. Technically correct writing can be taught. The art and the grace of writing, I think, is more innate talent than anything else. At various points in my life, I've been told that I'm a good writer. What the hell does that mean??? It could mean damn near anything, really. One person's definition of good might be that my description of a technique or a situation is clear and concise. Another person might think I'm a good writer because my words read as if I'm speaking and not just banging shit out on a keyboard. I suppose there could be about as many definitions of "good writing" as there are people doing the defining. And the writing, for that matter.

This compliment is one that has been paid to me at many different ages, in many different environments and states of mind, and by many (very) different people. This raises the question: do I now have a responsibility to write because I'm good at it? I don't know. I have the same question about teaching. I feel like it's a shame to waste a talent, but I guess there are so many other factors to consider. "Like what?" you ask. That's an excellent question. I guess liking whatever it is that you're good at is helpful. My problem is that I seem to be unaware of what I like. I feel ambivalence about proclaiming my love for something that could become an integral part of my eventual career. Maybe it seems like a really big commitment or something. That doesn't really make sense though, especially since I've been with the same man for 23 years. That's a bit of a commitment there. Ack, I'm difficult.

To finish off this session of public navel-gazing, here's an article I forgot I had written for my high school newspaper, The Communicator. I was sorting through old papers in the basement (read: doing more navel-gazing) and found some of the stuff I had written when I actually aspired to be a writer. I barely even remember the event I wrote about, even though it seemed to be fairly traumatic/dramatic. Anyway, enjoy.

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