Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mask of the Writer

Why do I write? Why do I like to write? Why am I writing here? Ah, the questions I think I haven't answered before. It is, actually, somewhat strange for me to write a blog. But I am also simultaneously maintaining a LiveJournal account as well, though it's been in a state of semi-neglect lately (probably due to this blog). But I'm jumping ahead, first back to the beginning.

The Mask of the Writer is an old one. Truth be told, I used to hate writing. English was my worst subject in elementary and middle school. I wasn't bad in that I didn't get A's, because I did, but it was my worst because I wasn't able to capture its nuances. I was particularly bad at grammar - caused me much grief. But my 11th grade English teacher was amazing. Of course she was, she held a law degree. She taught us the essay - my chosen style of writing. With it I was able to analyze text and support arguments in my papers with sufficient evidence. And we had to be careful not to take things out of context. Finally, I had a way to discover, analyze, and play with the nuances of the English language. If I had the inclination, I would probably choose pre-law instead of pre-med owing to my writing style. But I don't have that inclination, so whatever.

Every time I write something substantial donning this Mask, it comes out at least essay-like. It tends to have a particular structure and form, with particular details of support and order. Granted, writing in a blog/journal is still free-form in ways an essay cannot be. Anyway, pardon me if things sound too rigid and formed - it's just how I write.

Now, in my sophomore year of college I opened a free LiveJournal account that I still post on from time to time. It was mostly somewhere I could rant and vent, as well as comment on my friends' LiveJournal accounts. I stuck to mostly "my day" things - things that generally weren't very private/personal. And of course, I started this blog where my identity is, as far as I know, still anonymous, something that's become more precious than I'd thought.

But why do I write? It serves many purposes. The most apparent one is to record my thoughts and events so that I may come back to it. Memory is an imperfect thing, and writing is one way of ingraining that memory elsewhere, to be revisited later. Through this, I am able to go back and read my old posts - which I do from time to time - and see exactly how I've changed. The changes are subtle, I admit. I don't think I'm one of those people who drastically change from one year to the next, etc. It's a slow progression with me, I think. And writing lets me see and follow that on a timescale that makes sense.

Another reason is rather morbid. But writing leaves some trace of my being behind. Who knows if I am to die today, or tomorrow, or the day after. There's always that uncertainty and I'm occasionally reminded of it. For example, a person I know who went to Cal Tech just died a few days ago. He was 20, and he wasn't feeling well. About half an hour later he had a heart attack and died, even though he was promptly rushed to the hospital. Just like that, with no prior health condition, with no warning, sudden death by a heart attack. How does that happen?! Why do things like that happen?! It's scary to even think about. And so I write - to remind myself that I was alive, that I am still alive. It's like leaving a part of me with whoever reads this.

But why write this, and why here? What do I hope to achieve? I don't know if I have a good answer to that. A part of it is to organize my thoughts, to clear the debris in my mind and help me focus. A part of it is to help me figure myself out: who/what I am, where I've been, where I stand, where I'm heading, and where I may want to go. All are ambiguous questions that aren't easily answered, because again, who knows what tomorrow brings.

I write here, on this blog, also as way of telling me to not hide that hidden part of me. And perhaps readers stumbling across this might be touched (I doubt it?), who knows. Here a part of me lives behind several masks, only the eyes and voices showing. And at the end of this, I hope to take off those masks one by one. And at the end of this, I hope to see me, strange as that sounds. But perhaps there are many "me," I don't know but I intend on finding out eventually.

As always, you're welcome to read, support/criticize, and comment as you please. I don't offend that easily. Soon though, I might create an email and AIM screen name just for this blog. So when I do, don't hesitate to say "hi" and such!

Okay, I've fully read and caught up on several blogs. They have been added to the sidebar and are as follows:

Falling off a log
Figuring Myself Out
Minding the Heart
Naughty Confucius

So yeah, check them out if you haven't already!

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