I tend to agonize over word choices. I constantly check definitions of words I already know to make sure that it means exactly what I want to say. Passages are re-written to be more similar to the way I speak. And even still, some of my personal interactions with readers responding to what I have written have not gone well. My words have been taken out of context, misconstrued, misused. People have even added their own words to mine, which gives whole new meanings that were completely unintended. This happens in all of my writings; blog posts, emails, texts, yeah.
So, I have this realization that sometimes it doesn’t matter how much thought I put into my word choices when I cannot control how anyone will think or feel or respond to what I write.
Maybe this is the same realization inspired James Joyce to write Finnegan’s Wake? Maybe I should just write what I want to most, what interests me, what entertains me, and fuck the readers? Okay, that doesn’t work either. If I did that it would read like a jazz musician pounding their way through an improvisatory solo where no one in the audience has a god damned clue what the fuck they listening to. At best, writing that way would entitle me to a membership with the Chronic Masturbators Society. No offense, James Joyce. Also, no offense to masturbators. I love you, masturbators! Thanks for doing what you do.
My initial feelings when encountering these confused interactions have been anger and frustration. I am the kind of person that accepts responsibility for everything I do and say, and for understanding what I read or hear. That’s a lot of pressure to put on myself. I’m thinking now that I should put some of that responsibility on others. It’s a two-way street, right? I can hold myself accountable for doing my best to express myself in a clear and thoughtful way, and expect people to read the words I actually write… Yeah I’m so fucked on this one.
I am, at this moment at least, resolute in that I should look for the humor in these situations. The truth is and will always be that people will have their own mindsets. Certain words will trigger reactions that I have no control over. And especially on emotional topics, my obsession with being clear and precise may not matter. I don’t want to write with a billion footnotes and citations. That is tedious for everyone.
For now, because I feel like it, and because it is oddly appropriate, I will leave you with a favorite quote from the inimitable Tom Robbins:
“It is what it is. You are what you it. There are no mistakes.”