Continuing on from my perspectives on whether we should write about everything, whether we can and whether we should wait before putting deep experiences down on the screen, I could not help but reflect on the exuberant bursts of writing on social media that we currently see by anybody and everybody.
Status updates, micro blogs, comments, captions, tweets, text messages–it’s an explosion of writing out there.
The only image that comes to my mind when I’m surrounded by all this writing is this: So far, it was the night sky in a strange planet dominated by a few yellow moons. Dependable, stable, guaranteed to rise and shine on certain periods of the month.
Now, there is suddenly a burst of sparkling firecrackers from everywhere covering the black night sky. Most of these stay only a few minutes and then disappear.
But the spectacle is great for those watching.
I know that good writing comes from “emotion recollected in tranquility” (as I said with Wordsworth yesterday). I know that the creative bursts have to pass through the rigours of repeated excruciating edits and rejections before they are fit to be read. No matter how great the writer is.
But let’s face it. Are we all meant to be good writers? If not, does this mean our experiences have no value? If I felt catty today or really sad or engaged in retail therapy, and if I’m the sort of person who is only capable of saying “no mattr how much u know a frnd, she backstab u” or “feelin bad” or “shoes!” should you not read me? I’m certainly trailed by a host of comments. I know there are some people who want to read. Or don’t want to read by which I know there is a reaction.
The other day I was riding the subway and I had this strange feeling. There were people sitting and standing or even trying to crawl (in the case of a baby). Each one was dressed differently, doing something different, thinking a different thought, going to a different destination about to meet a different fate.
The darkness outside in the tunnel and the sound of motion made me think about the transience of life for some reason that day.
I realized that this too shall pass. Me, the girl, the baby, the man in the black coat. Not just when we reach our stations but when our life’s journey will have reached its last station.
None of us, in that subway car, would remain forever. Not the guy in the black coat, nor the baby in pink, nor the girl reading from her smartphone. The tunnels and the tracks will perhaps remain longer but there will be other people with different faces carrying different-looking gadgets and strollers and shoes and clothes who will ride a different means of transportation, perhaps still concerned about a friend’s backstabbing or buying footwear, if not shoes as we know it.
But all the record we will have of us in this subway car will be a map of the subway system, a model of an old subway car in a museum somewhere, or a book about an ordinary protagonist in the early twenty-first century who rode the subway to work–fictional or non-fictional–edited and re-edited to perfection.
Most will be satisfied with this record.
But I am hopeful that there will be a group of useless loiterers who will mine our bad status updates and our silly micro blogs and our almost indecipherable comments and our outrageous captions and our impulsive tweets and our archaic text messages and discover themselves in us. Us who lived in the early twenty-first century and rushed through the same things as those future loiterers living imperfect lives buying shoes before our journeys ended.
All journeys end. But if there are no unedited, impulsive records of them, you are only left with beautifully polished museum pieces that leave you wishing you had asked more questions of those people who had passed and valued the moment while it was still there to be experienced. And written.
For all moments will pass and every moment will be forgotten. But our impulsive writings will hold on to those memories just a little longer.