I’m a pretty narcissistic person, arrogant too. Like all narcissistic, arrogant, and yet self-aware people — I think I’m good at hiding it. I’ve said this many times before, probably to myself more than anyone else, but you need to be arrogant in order to write. Really to express yourself in any way other than for the pure enjoyment of it (i.e. dancing alone in the elevator). There needs to be the belief that whatever is being expressed has some value or will be interesting to all the ‘normals’ out there.
One of the ways in which my narcissism manifests itself is that I love going back and reading what I have written before. One of the benefits of being a Humanities major + occasional blogger is that I have snapshots into my state of mind and beliefs that can be revisited and analyzed. However, a surprisingly sober consequence of my auto-fellatio (aside from the usual sobering consequences) is that my writing was better back when I was in college… longer ago than I would like to admit now.
Not so much the writing, I think I’m a much more effective communicator, but the soul or narrative purpose. After spending a couple years teaching grammar and then training others on how to write more effectively I’m pretty confident my style and structure has improved. But I’ve traded in structure and style for the most important piece, content. I don’t know what the hell I’m writing about nowadays. Back in college I was reading so much, learning so much, being exposed to so much that my head was like a fountain and my writing was just an attempt to capture some of the overflow before it drained away.
When I go back to read my younger self’s thoughts I’m hit by how much smarter I was back then. My thoughts were more sophisticated (admittedly the majority of them were taken from my professors or other established writers). The content I was working with was DiCaprio, Fiennes, Fassbender; too bad they were being directed by Zack Snyder. He knows how to make things look cool, but he lacks the structure and depth of say a Scorsese (if you disagree with any of the examples I chose I don’t really give a shit, I don’t know anything about film making).
Now the content I’m working with is…. name your typical B list actor… (don’t want to name names unless that person wins an Oscar and references my ignorance in his or her acceptance speech). The directing is better, more like a Kurosawa or David Fincher, did I mention earlier that I was arrogant? That absolves me for any douchey things I may say in the future. Also as I’m writing this I’m starting to realize that choosing actors as the metaphor for content was a mistake, but I’m ignoring my better nature because actors are cooler examples than screenplays.
Sure writing is important, but all the good writing in the world is empty and meaningless if there is nothing to write about. Style makes sure the substance is more easily swallowed, but you need the substance first.
** I am not old and mature enough to bypass the opportunity to point out that I used a metaphor of swallowing a substance in the same piece as I mentioned auto-fellatio. I should have the confidence in my audience to have noticed that staggering work of heartbreaking genius on their own, but…. I don’t care. My jokes and writing are for ME ok!? I don’t NEED to be famous and universally loved…
I have become that which I used to hate… a vapid film student. Knows how to direct, stage, tell a story, but has no story worth telling.
Really the most sobering thought is that the reason my content is sub par today is that back in college I was writing about religion and society… now I’m mainly writing about myself.
* Shit this blog is supposed to be about food — I always make everything about me.