Monday, January 12, 2009

Edited for anonymity

What is good writing? Grammar? Sentence structure? Metaphors and analogies? When does writing go from monotonous language scripted on a page to thought provoking ideas that trip the imagination into spurts of joyful freedom? A mind that's been conditioned to count minutes and days, is allowed to forget that time exists. A person used to believing in absolute truths is given the chance to consider the unconventional ways of fiction.

In our lives, we are taught to grow out of our childish ways and improper thoughts. We are taught to censor ourselves and act scrupulously. We learn by example that it is best to leave some things unsaid. But I wish that I could have a child's mind again. I wish that I could innocently speak without stopping to regard how someone will react to my words.

My words. By the time they leave my mouth they are no longer mine. They have to pass through a series of tests and filters which thin down the emotion and sincerity, putting the inclinations of others ahead of my own desire to express my convictions. I find myself, in the midst of a sentence, losing the will to finish. Once the words pass through the sifter, take a beating, and begin to pour out of my mouth, they don't even sound like they're my words at all. I forget how I think. I forget who I am. I don't even know where my true voice lies.

To have a child's mind. To not know that you shouldn't call your grandmother fat. To not know that you shouldn't cry and throw fits in public. To eat your boogers at the table without a single moment of self consciousness. To be incapable of distinguishing between someone happy or mentally handicapped. Someone rich or poor. Someone gay or straight. And if you are able to make such distinctions, to not care either way. The child's mind before it is given restrictions and conditions and boundaries and manners and elocution of speech.

To have a child's mind, but with the experience of a person who has known embarrassment and rejection; disappointment and desertion, struggle and triumph, love and heartbreak. To be able to instill a childlike honesty in expressing emotions we all experience, but seldom admit to. To be able to write unabashed, crude and dysfunctional thoughts without toning them down for the sake of your reputation. To remove all inhibitions from your mind and simply write raw, unfiltered, unprocessed, irreparably flawed and recklessly unguarded words. Ones that provoke the reader to begin their own thought pattern until the words on the page lose their meaning and the reader becomes the writer.

This is not to say that I want to make tactless remarks that are hurtful. But we should all realize that hate can be spoken in more ways than one and whether the phrasing is outright or benign, it still incites pain. What I want is to be honest about my fears and insecurities. I want to relate to people who are as fragile and flawed as I am. I want to connect to others on more than a superficial plane. I have sheltered myself for so long from having meaningful relationships with people, because I know that they are the judges, who can heal or hurt, console or condemn, and can take mercilessly without conscience. My defense has been to become closed off and without depth. Somehow this style has infected my writing and become who I am.

I think most would agree, that the prospect of ridicule and rejection is enough to make us all either conformists or loners.

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