Mine is not an interactive voice. Mine is a voice pinned down by fear. That begs to retreat to the shadows, the safety of silence and solitude.
Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Writing about fictional characters seemed like a cop-out at the beginning of the semester, but I’ve been wringing it out like blood from a stone. I wrote too many plot summaries and not enough analysis. I glanced off the surface of the issues I wanted to delve into, like rape culture and what it really means to be a feminist in the 21st (or 22nd or 23rd…) century. I wanted to find new heroes, ones created by women, and I more often revisited past loves and male creators.
And when it came time to pitch and plan and promote something of my own, I foundered. I thought about High Fidelity, what Laura says to Rob when he produces his own record: “You, the critic, the professional appreciator, put something new into the world and the second one of those things gets sold to someone, you’re officially a part of it.” And here I have a hard enough time just being a critic. My idea for a web series amused me for half a minute, but the same thing happened that used to happen when I tried to write fiction–I literally lost the plot. What happens to them? Where’s the intrigue? Why do we care?
My best friend–to whom I write long, self-deprecating emails about my daily struggle to cope with seeming hardships in my thoroughly privileged life–recently told me I should be blogging about my experiences with generalized anxiety disorder.
It’s certainly crossed my mind, in the way that Dave Eggers knew he wouldn’t be able to write anything else before he wrote his memoir of raising his kid brother after his mother died. Searching in vain for his exact quote, I found another that speaks to my concerns about confessional blogging:
“Revelation is everything, not for its own sake, because most self-revelation is just garbage–oop!–yes, but we have to purge the garbage, toss it out, throw it into a bunker and burn it, because it is fuel.”
I embarked on a quest to find a version of myself on screen (or paper). I looked for someone who avoided violence, but what I learned is that everyone fights. It’s the human condition. In the “real” world, we don’t wind up with broken bones, but we all bleed.