Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Remember...I'm a Writer

I've been working on a fairly emotional, strongly worded, sometimes self-pitying entry on and off all day today. But as I reread it, I feel like I need to preface it with something. This is that thing.

Writing a blog entry is not like having a conversation. It's not a give and take. There's no modulation of emotion based on the reaction of another. There is nobody here to interject another point of view, to show me when I'm going astray, to calm me down when I start to wind up.

And then there's another thing: I'm a writer. What does that mean here? Well, it means that this is my passion, this form of communication, this way of reaching out to people. When I start doing it--whether it's a press release on a new histone deacetylase or a blog entry on our trip to Big Bear--I do it as a writer. I listen to the words, listen for the voice that fits the story I'm trying to tell, and then I go with that voice, let it carry me. I'm looking to give you, the reader of my words, both information and emotion, in proportions that change depending on my subject. The information, that's usually as true as I can make it--perfectly true when I'm writing about science, subjectively true when I'm writing about me, but true to some degree. But the emotion? It's enhanced. It's me, wound up by myself. If I'm writing about feeling sad, I'm going to start drowning in it as I go. By the end of a sad entry, I'll be sitting here near tears, deeply into my own head. But I don't stay there. Two minutes later, when Em and N walk by pretending to be elephants, I'll break into an immediate smile. Thing is, you don't know that. You read that entry, and you worry about me, thinking I'm slipping back into a depression.

Or maybe you don't; maybe I'm just being egotistical. Wouldn't be the first time. Still, the message is the same: Read these entries as moments in my head, not days, not lifetimes. Read them as one part of what's going on with me, not as the sum total of me. I am sad or angry or whatever I'm expressing at the time. But I'm also joyful and excited and irritated and surprised and tired. Those are all filtered out to make my story purer, to make my point more clearly.

I'm a writer. If I do my job well, you'll feel what I feel. I just want you to know that it's not the only thing I feel. This is my life through a prism, and you're only seeing one color at a time. I, on the other hand, get to see the whole rainbow, spread out before me.

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