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Jan 23, 2023Liked by Theory Gang

This provoked and unsettled something in me. I casually consider myself a writer. By that I have meant – not so much that I am compelled to write, and certainly not that I regularly produce output for any kind of audience – but that the act of writing often brings me some of the deepest pleasure and satisfaction I have had or known in my entire life and across the range of all the activities which would seem like more obvious candidates for producing the experiences of “pleasure” and “satisfaction.” And yet… writing, when it’s really working for me, probably gets me closer to the experience of the intrinsic pleasure of creation as anything I know. If you’ve ever written something that really worked, and then re-read it to feel the words uncoil in your mind with their own inner living power, and then reread the words again for another dose of current and then read and re-read them again and again, the richness soaking into you undiminished with every iteration, then you know the drug. That is good stuff, and I’ve had it, but do I need it? And if I don’t need it, am I really a writer?

I don’t know. Or I do know: I’m not really a writer, not in the sense that Natasha is. Long eras of my life have passed in which I’ve written nothing that mattered to me or to anyone else. All of that being true, Natasha asks a question I can’t shake off. Who is a writer? Maybe Natasha’s formulation is too doctrinaire. Might the compulsion to write be at least partly a function of prosaic commitments one undertakes like “post something this week”? Maybe Mia Williams at MSN.com imagined the daily press to generate content (loathsome word) would make her a writer and instead it simply killed her spirit. Hard to know. Deadlines can be like that. On the other hand Bob Dylan once said he would never have finished an album if there hadn’t been a deadline for it. Bob Dylan! Anyway, we don’t charge out of the womb as pianists and oil painters and gymnasts and bee keepers and everything else under the sun. We become something. Perhaps I could become not merely a person who writes but a person who needs to write. This essay really makes me wonder.

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We can resist compulsion, but you can't deny it when you feel it. Also, the audience part of it doesn't really matter. If you needed to write it, it matters. And of course, this is all personal philosophy, probably with some element of toxic doctrine. Glad it made you think!

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9000 ft above the ground.. and no good story to follow it through. I can relate to your agony of writers not putting enough effort to share a readworthy story for their audience. But I also look at it as a gap where many others fit in. Are people still reading MSN?

Long form content written simply tells the depth of a writer, and they make you feel as if you were there.

At the end of the day, I write because i want to relive those feelings i felt while writing something at first place. I am not a public reporter but i share my stuff hoping others will find meaning through their own perspectives.

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I write to understand, so it's usually for me. The length depends on how much I need to say - usually too many irrelevant details 😅

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Interesting! I tend to perceive writing in a quite different way. To me writing simply doesn't mean thinking simply. On the contrary, it means understanding your thoughts clearly enough to be able to make them understandable by anybody.

Then again, I sometimes wonder if this perspective isn't caused by my own limitations. While I understand a lot in English, my capacity to play with words in this language remains limited. Does this make me a bad writer? I like to think not but who knows?

While I do enjoy the occasional pompous word in a text, the more dumbed-down it is, the easier it makes it for me as a reader to devour it. Now, it doesn't mean I don't enjoy reading "complicated" texts (what never that may mean), but the experience and goal of reading them will be different, that's for sure.

Anyway, thanks for making me think about this some more! I hope my response isn't written too simply 😉

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Haha. I live flowery prose, too. Writing simply isn't necessarily the goal. For me, it's simply writing .

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Ooooh ooh ooh! This is so spot on. Simply write--not write simply, is really so profound. And easy to access from the memory bank when I need the reminder (almost daily).

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