Sunday, August 12, 2012

Egocentric

This post is my response to a post by a friend of mine.  She is a 10% real life- 90% internet friend, because although I knew her in real life first, most of what I know now is all internet.  I love her writing.  J loves her writing.  and we wish she would come back to The PM.  But no pressure.

She was asked by one of her (high school) creative writing students if she had ever been published.  The answer was no.  

I feel like she hit on this in her post, but maybe, being published (in the traditional way), is a yard stick that seems meaningful when you are in high school, but then becomes meaningless once you can see a little more clearly.  For me, having a PhD is this way.  I thought I needed to have one, because it drew a line in the sand between authentic scientists and un-authentic ones.  

But now I know how subjective the process is. 
I know that having a PhD means nothing.  
What has meaning is what I can deliver in my work on a day-to-day basis.  
And I am proud of myself for what I can deliver.

I think publishing is like that.  Especially now that the publishing industry is changing.  "Being Published" might seem meaningful before you know what exactly that means, and what it doesn't mean.  
The discovery of meaning, and lack-of-meaning could be depressing, or it could be a good coming-of-age story.

Maybe what has meaning, is what you can deliver with your writing on a day-to-day basis. 
Or maybe it is what your writing can do to deliver you.  

That brings us to the question of why we write.

I think for some people, like me and David Finch, writing helps because talking can be too much.
Writing helps calm me.
And writing, here, can help me show J topics I am thinking about but might not bring up in real life- because real life is too full of other things.

I might write because I am egocentric.  

That sentence makes me cringe.  I feel like it is somehow bad to be that way.  But I want to be OK with it.  If I allow myself to be egocentric in my writing... then maybe I can be a better person in real life.  

Maybe.