I’ve avoided public rambling for as long as I could, confining it to old notebooks that got soaked beneath defrosting refrigerators or dropped on London sidewalks. The ink either blotted by water or left to be deciphered by some stranger (one of whom returned my Moleskine with a note saying “This looks important, thought you’d want it back”). To read from a stranger that what I was scribbling “looked important” was what should have been readily obvious: why would I spend most of my already busy days cramming words in cream pages if what they were saying was not important?
Well, there’s a lot to be said about that:
The act of writing, as an outlet, is very important. The content of what I write? Important as well, but only to me. Right?
I don’t want to surfeit your efficient mind with needless nonsense.
I don’t necessarily want to conform my topics to what you want to read, either.
I don’t want to give a dry chronicle of my first week in Milwaukee: where I went when and who I met where. That stuff will get sniffed out by the specifics I record in my notebooks, such as the emotional stew of losing a professor’s book and going to search for it all over the city, with a trusty pack of Nat Shermans. Or that encounter on the bus. Or the skirt I wore as a dress.
This is how, if I were a historian, history would be recorded. And it would be nonsense to the world. It’s the most subjective way to write about already subjective experiences: people will be left puzzled, they won’t achieve any clarity or get any telling information about my doings. They simply won’t be interested.
Oh, too bad. Because after declaring all this, I think:
I wish I read more writing that isn’t dry and fact-driven.
I wish I could enter more people’s worlds through their writing.
I wish people like me shared their writing. It’s difficult to do, but I acknowledge that it is important to share stuff–especially when it’s not written for an audience, because then it retains a certain authenticity that is steadily being erased from public writing (if you’re writing for a newspaper, say–they will edit your piece to death and reincarnate it as something else entirely).
This means sort of letting go of whether it’s good or not. And it also means not fretting about whether it will be read or not. It appears that the only power I have in the matter is to “put it out there.” Leibniz argues (in trying to prove the existence of God, but we can ignore that) that for something to exist, it must have an external cause, and that nothing is actualized unless it is perceived by someone. Since I’m not convinced there is a God who perceives everything, but still choose to play along with the above reasoning, then I see how only you, reading my writing, can allow it to exist. The stuff in the notebooks is, well… nothing.