Monday, June 8, 2015 · 2 min read
I have published over 40,000 words of writing now—more than The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Hamlet. Not that word count matters, of course. Words, like people, are meaningless on their own.
And every time I sit down to write a new post, I wonder why I do it.
Readership in itself is hardly a goal. Unread words are just as meaningful.
Communication, on the other hand, is a goal. Every person who agrees—or disagrees—with my ideas; every person who is inspired to write something of their own; every person who shares a discovery with me or (dare I hope) learns something from me: each one of you inspires me to write. You know who you are.
And as much as you, dear reader, may have learned from my writing, I’m confident that I learned more. In attempting to publish at least twice per month for the past year and a half, I discovered that it is not an unattainable target. I have 2,000 words worth of material worth sharing every month and I’m proud of every sentence.
That, of course, is not easy for me to say. If you have been with me from the very beginning—and some of you have—you have seen pieces with questionable claims and controversial ideas. You have seen opinions any self-respecting person would disagree with. You have seen typography that may have left you with permanently impaired vision.
In most cases, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I am thankful for both the feedback you offered and the criticism you kept to yourself.
But—you can check this yourself—these pieces can still be seen in their full, unmodified glory.
Their persistence is not a reflection of any dogmatic sentiments regarding censorship or free speech. Rather, it is a reflection of my pride in every piece I have written.
The truth is, if asked “Are you proud of your writing?”, I would say, “no”. Like a recording of your voice, your own writing always has a slightly nauseating quality.
What am I proud of, then?
I’m proud of the fact that I can look down on my old writing. Because it means that somehow, over the years, I’ve risen. You can only look down from up above.
That’s what it means to be embarrassed about past writing; it means you’ve grown, both as a writer and as a person.
Respect and pride: they’re measured on a relative scale. All you have is the derivative; all you have is whether or not you’re a better person than you were yesterday.
And all you have is the indefinite integral. Indefinite.
We don’t know the constant, the reference point, the absolute scale. We will never know the constant. The constant, as always, represents conditions. Things you can’t change. Things you don’t feel you deserve and things that aren’t your fault. Things that, for better or for worse, are constant.
Maybe that’s why I write.