I can write short sentences. I can write with basic vocabulary. I was once in third grade. I worked on building paragraphs. I learned how to write a thesis sentence. I read a heap of books. I read almost constantly. I read novels, not random internet musings. I read longform articles, not tweets. I have been surrounded by words since a very young age. Writing is entertainment. Writing is therapy. Writing is my life’s work. I take it very seriously and also not seriously at all. I want to find joy everywhere. So, I seek joy in writing.
I am fortunate to have critics. I am very fortunate to have many critics. I am even more fortunate to have cheerleaders. I value the critics more. Or, I value them more in the long run. In the moment, they hurt my feelings. The cheerleaders make me smile. But, the cheerleaders do not help my writing. In order to change, we must feel that we want or need to change. The critics make me want to change. Improvement is a species of change. Evolution is a species of change. Violent revolution is also a species of change. Violent revolution is not usually applicable to writing. But it is applicable to politics. That is a different essay though. One that I have written before.
Hemingway wrote short sentences. Hemingway was applauded for simple prose. Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Hemingway had four wives. This fact is nuanced. I am sure that they were all four lovely. I am not as sure that their husband was as lovely to them. Hemingway drank until his liver feared him. Hemingway shot himself with his favorite shotgun. He was a very good shot. Years of hunting had honed his aim. Hemingway died a paranoid mess. Hemingway died at his own hand. He may have been a great novelist. He is not an example that I wish to follow. I would rather be flowery, lovely, and alive than lean, mean, and dead.
Writing with restraint can be beautiful. Minimalism has its own attraction. Writing in that fashion is like playing acoustic guitar. When you write tight, there is no room to hide. There are fewer words, so each one counts. When you write simply, more people can understand what you are saying. I should care that people understand me. But, in this space, I write for myself as well as for others. I am bored by writing simply. I want to be energized by my column. I write a lot of dry e-mails and briefs. When I sit down to write this column, the words just come. A lot of them, in a weird order. Words that I did not even know I knew come out of my brain. It is surreal. It is exciting. It annoys a fair amount of people. I try not to pay those people mind. But it is hard. I am a sensitive boy.
I can change my writing. I can change my writing so that one could not tell that I was the author. I can change markedly, but I choose not to do so. I choose not to do so because I am me and that is all that I can be. When we are young, we wish to be someone else. We wish to be someone else because we do not know ourselves well. We think that other people may be better. Other people may be better at certain things, but they are other people. I do not want to be anyone else. I do not want to write like anyone else. I want to write like a better version of me. I may not become a professional writer when I grow up. I have been paid to write before. So, I think I will stick with my style. Perhaps one day I will be paid more. Perhaps not. I will still be happy. Or I will be sad. I will still be me.