A normal human being would have some kind of introduction here.
They’d explain who they are, what they want to write about, and why they want to write about it. They’d set the tone and set the pace — establishing themselves, giving the reader something identifiable and coherent to relate to, and laying out what to expect.
I’m not doing that.
Why am I not doing that? Because I haven’t the slightest idea what I’m doing here yet, or what I even intend to write about.
Why don’t I know what I want to write about? Because I’m still wary about the entire proposition of writing anything for someone other than myself.
Why does that weird me out? Because it sounds like hubris. It sounds like me standing on my head and declaring “Look at me, I matter! I have valuable insights about the world! I know things that you don’t know! Behold my worth and utility!”
Which is, of course, malarkey.
All I ultimately know about myself is, I like writing. I can’t really claim to have any talent or significant experience. No English degree, no published works, and not even a rejection letter to my name, since I haven’t yet mustered the gall to try. All I can say is, writing seems to be the thing that my brain wants to do more than any other thing. (Besides thinking, anyway – and even then, writing might win out, as there’ve been times I didn’t realize what my thought processes were until I finished the paragraph I was writing, scrolled up, and read it.)
Ultimately, I realize that even if I had the experience or the credentials, there can be no rational justification for foisting my words onto random Internet passersby. “Because I want to” is meaningless, because there’s nothing special about me, and nothing special about wanting, that should mean I have any right to satisfy that want, nor to even seek its satisfaction.
But no other reason makes sense, either.
If I claim that I’m writing for someone else’s benefit, that’s pretentious as hell. If I claim that I’m writing for the sake of writing, that’s tantamount to claiming that this is Art of some kind — and that’s pretentious as anywhere from 5 to 7 hells. And if I just say “Because I can,” well, that doesn’t mean that I should — and it only invites some kind of ironic accident where I lose the language processing centers of my brain by dropping a typewriter on my head.
The other problem with rational justification, even if I explained WHY I thought I had any right to write, is that I have to find some way to justify WHAT I write. Despite the fact that I don’t know what that will even be! Will I be a slice-of-life diarist? Share and comment on news and media? Serve as a meme-vector? Write essays, short stories, parodies, or – gods help us all – poetry?! Will I give up on this next Tuesday? Whatever I end up writing, as my moods, interests, and amount of free time vary, I can’t claim there will be any consistency to any of this – or even that I won’t contradict myself.
Why is that? And why do I think that’s a problem? Blame college. Enough experiences — both academic and social — from my college years have stuck with me that I still second-guess my right to say anything, in any way, to anyone, about anything, unless I am 100% certain of its accuracy and 100% certain it will not bother even the most temperamental person.
Though this IS the Internet, after all, where someone can post a picture of a delicious burrito and get told they’re worse than Hitler; perhaps it’s best to sally forth undaunted and just equip a hefty banhammer.
Regardless, I can’t guarantee that I won’t screw things up, and I can’t guarantee that I won’t contradict myself. And if Symobolic Logic taught me anything (though it really didn’t; the professor literally could not mind her Ps and Qs,) it’s that a single contradiction in an entire body of work makes the entire thing meaningless, worthless, and contemptible, and indicates that its author is a miserable putz who should die alone and unloved.
How that varies from the usual fate of philosophers, I haven’t the slightest.
But here I am, a few years later, having trudged into the mire of adulthood with only moderate success, now wishing I’d majored in something more practical and ennobling – like English, or ditch-digging. I’d always expected that I would write and, maybe, try to get published in my spare time, when I got home from being whatever-it-was that I was when I grew up. However, the more I’ve finally regrown a sense of self, and the more I’ve tried to do with that self, the more my desire to write has grown — and the more I’ve realized that I can’t seem to do dick-all else. No matter what I’ve tried to do with my life, and no matter what I’ve tried to learn or achieve or become (when I’ve dared to aspire in the first place,) nothing has been as fluid, as freeing, as simply raw and right, as writing. There’s nothing like finding just the right turn of phrase, just the right word, just the right rhyme, just the right meter for poetry or prose.
That doesn’t mean I think I accomplish this often, and it doesn’t mean I think that it’s objectively good when I do, and it doesn’t mean I think I myself am anything good or relevant because of it. All it means is this:
There are words in my head, and they want to get out.
As I said in my very first line, a normal human being would have some kind of introduction here. The sooner we dispense with the idea that I’m a normal human being, the better. I still might not know who or what the crap I am, besides this amorphous cloud of thoughts, but maybe that’s enough. I am an amoeboid slurry of thoughts, crammed into a human-shaped shell, which occasionally vomits an acrid torrent of words to engulf an object, event, or thought, breaking it down into its components, then selectively absorbing those components into itself, thereby accreting more thoughts, all the while leaving these pools of words and half-eaten thoughts behind for others to step in, or possibly to serve as fertilizer for other things.
I am also incredibly romantic.
So, that’s as much as I know to say right now about who I am and what I think I’m doing here. However, that doesn’t quell that desire for purpose that continues to tug insistently at my forebrain. A sense that I can’t go anywhere until and unless I create some kind of base, some platform. Some statement that can serve as a justification, an explanation, an excuse, an appeal for forgiveness, a warning, a mission statement, a declaration of surrender, and a creed.
In short, to best set forth with Gant’s Rants, I need… a manifesto.