Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Finding Meaning

You might notice that I don't mention jazz in this entry.  But in a way, it's related to jazz, especially jazz artists.  I hope you see how.

Writing blog entries isn't hard for me.  I choose to write them.  That's not to say writing is easy for me.  I'm a slow writer, a finicky writer.  But when I sit down and start a new post, I am basically searching for meaning.  That's why I primarily write personal essays--because I think I can scrape out some meaning by examining myself.  I don't know if I'm successful, but I do feel better after I write.  It's like therapy.  Therapy's not easy--there's crying, confession, concealment--but it's worth it.

Yesterday I wrote an essay for a class I'm taking in radical political thought.  I didn't want to write the essay, but I had to.  I thought it would be easy to write it because I had been writing frequently for my blog, for the school newspaper, for myself.  But when I sat down to write, I faltered.  It seemed so deliberate.

Of course my problem was not uncommon.  Another case of someone who didn't want to do his homework.  Eventually, I got what I considered a good idea and started writing.  I never really got into it, but I finished.  And it wasn't until tonight that I realized my problem:  I thought writing would be easy--that I wouldn't have to think as hard because I had been thinking more than usual about writing.  I was wrong.

Writing gets easier when you come to terms with the fact that you have to sit down and think and start over and be frustrated and think some more and start over again.  You might get lucky with a good idea here and there, but really you can't outsmart hard work.  This doesn't only apply to writing.

If you've read some of my blog posts, you might have noticed how much I admire hard work.  Who doesn't, right?  But I'm also puzzled by it.  Work can be so sacrosanct.  There are so many secrets involved.  Few want to admit how long they've worked on something.  But meaning takes a while to concoct.  If you spent an hour writing a sentence, it might be that you're slow, or too careful, or bored.  But it also might be that you value meaning.

I think I'm a hopeful person.  That's probably why I thought writing would become easier.  Not that it hasn't in some ways.  But it still takes me a long time to express a thought, a thought that never seems to fully show itself.  I don't think it'll become easier to find those thoughts.  But for me, it's meaningful just to look for them.


  1. I couldn't share your feelings more. Despite its enjoyment, writing couldn't be a more difficult and (mentally) taxing task to complete. And even then, there is always that sense of being not quite right; the feeling that each thought isn't quite how you initially envisioned them. I'm not sure if writing actually gets "easier". Rather, for me it has always been a confidence issue. Once you are able to come to terms with what is produced, the act itself remains difficult, but the absence of the accompanying stress and worry makes it feel much less so.

    Keep up the good work!!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Andy. I wholeheartedly agree that it is also a matter of confidence. I don't know if I've reached your level yet, but it seems like a good place to be.