A friend asked me why I don’t do any long-form writing anymore, and I simply replied that I didn’t see the point of expressing my thoughts and opinions in blog form anymore.
But thinking more about it now, the art of long-form writing is an increasingly lost practice outside the realm of journalism, novels, essays and academic research papers. No one really writes much anymore, and it’s an effect of the evolution of how we consume our information. We’re so used to taking in bits and pieces and tweets and messages and all the little status updates. We see and hear and read the world in bite (byte?) sized chunks, and even when we consume, we often do so without much output. And any output we do produce emerges in a similar staccato bits-and-bobs format.
If you say that people don’t read anymore, you’ll get a bunch of mildly offended literati who passive-aggressively point out that hey, I still read, thank you very much. But they do so with hesitant conviction simply because they realize that they are a dying breed. An endangered group that enjoy the look and feel and even smell of a good book—or at times, as in my case, even the idea of a good book—and how it can conjure entire worlds of colour and sound and depth and emotion, all without getting up from one’s comfortable chair. And they swear up and down that they will teach their children the love of a good book. So maybe there’s hope?
So people may not read as much anymore. But they write even less. Input is oftentimes much easier than output. It takes time to conceive an idea, put it into words, and then mold the way that idea is expressed in the arrangement of those words, their sound, their pronunciation, the way people read them in their heads. And how do you write your emotion? How do you make your words seethe with anger, or leap with joy, or writhe in pain?
I used to ask myself why I wrote. Why I blogged. What was the point? Early on, it was a means of expression, but it was also to write for an audience. Like their acknowledgement and agreement with my thoughts and opinions meant validation. Cogito ergo sum. And you agree with me, so you agree that I am.
And when I decided that I didn’t need that validation, or that I would find it elsewhere, I stopped writing. And other blogs I’ve kept seemed to have fallen by the wayside. But lately, I’ve had people tell me they want me to write again. They want to see what I have to say.
So here I am again, writing. Pouring my words and thoughts out on paper. “Paper”. Let’s see where this goes.