The essayed life
Life is heavy and we all need to process things. Some people process things internally by thinking and reflecting on them. More extroverted processors (myself included) process things by either talking about them (my wife is this way) or writing about them. I fall into this latter camp.
The reason that I blog (even though they say that blogging is long dead) is to test things out. After all, the formal definition of ‘essay’ is actually more of a verb than it is a noun. It means ‘to test’ or ‘to attempt’.
I’ve always found this to be a worthwhile practice. For example, just a couple of days ago, I was convinced that I should unfollow my close friends and family on social media. So I wrote about it and posted it on the internet (smart, right?).
It’s interesting, this process of watching a thought go onto paper and then into the world. It starts as an immaterial and ephemeral thing that fires between synapses in our brain. The first step is writing it down. This offers its own transformative process. The ephemeral thing gets refined into a physical living thing. When you expel it onto the page in front of you, you can examine it. You can crumble it up, burn it, delete it. Or, if it looks good, you can offer it up to others.
The internet allows everyone to publish anything really easily (too easily, I’d say, but that’s for another blog). This is terrifying. But, hot dang. It’s amazing what can happen here.
Like with my seemingly wonderful idea about unfollowing everyone close to me. When I wrote it out in my notebook, I was convinced that I might be onto something. In ways, this may have been true.
But I had to post it publicly to see how bad this idea was for a number of reasons. (I mean, no need to unfollow everyone in order to be a better friend/family member; just - well - be a better friend/family member, right? Our digital social world isn’t going away; the key is probably to learn how to live with it. Or something like that.)
But see, here I am just testing something new out. Another attempt. And on and on it goes. It’s a never-ending process, this life. And testing it all out on paper (even digital paper) is a fascinating way to see how it unfolds.