This is a Great, Thoughtful Essay. Right?

June 24, 2011

I have this urge.

Sometimes I read great, thoughtful essays about things that most of us don’t have the time to care about. Sometimes I don’t read them, because I don’t have time to read them, let alone care about them. But I want to care about them. Or I want to want to care about them. And that’s pretty noble of me, isn’t it? I think to myself that people who write great, thoughtful essays must be great, thoughtful people. And my thinking moves on to thinking about how I’d like to be one of these great, thoughtful people. And then I keep thinking more, and I wonder if I don’t care as much about being a great, thoughtful person as I care about you thinking I’m a great thoughtful person. You and everyone else. And their moms.

So this is the urge I confess to you. I want to be (seen as) a great, thoughtful writer of great, thoughtful essays that make your life better. Or at least that make my life better because they cause you to perceive me as great and thoughtful. But the urge gets hung up often. Never mind that I might not actually be a great, thoughtful person. That’s a different hang up, and one I’d rather not think about. Or, more importantly, have you think about.

The urge dies out because I sometimes read, or start to read, essays by others who would aspire to be great, thoughtful people. But they turn out to be self-ascribed pundits who have enough spare words to write their own press too. They are more wordful than thoughtful, and there isn’t much to like about them. Most of them don’t even seem to care if I like them. This need to be liked, I think, we’ve clearly established is an issue for me. Maybe that’s the best thing I have going for me. I won’t be a blabbering pundit with an opinion whether you like it or not, simply because I want my words to have some role in forming your opinion, rather than simply turning you off from mine.

I don’t need you to agree with everything I say. But I want to have a thoughtful posture in my writing that will lead to a thoughtful posture in your reading. I want to write words that you can nod your head too, and sometimes shake you head at as well. It’s lovely if you agree, and also quite fine if you disagree. But I want to know that you are stirred in your thinking, enough to read all the way to the end. Any maybe even think a little further about what I had to say beyond that.

Part of writing great, thoughtful essays is more about forming the thoughts that are coming from within my own soul, rather than only articulating responses to others. I am, by nature, an introvert, so I spend a lot of time internalizing my thoughts, before bringing them out to the light of day. If ever. And words written as responses and reactions to others are much safer words to write. But this also betrays my introverted nature, because the most important process for an introvert is to bring those inner thoughts to my lips and fingertips, and from there to the ears and eyes of others. And their moms.

I started this blog nearly seven years ago. Somewhere, I think I lost my way. I never had a way in mind, so that, I’m guessing, is what made it easy to lose. I don’t even know that I lost my way, so much as I defined my way as I went. And at some point, I decided I would use it as a place to only talk about certain things. Now it is time to not be so certain. I’m rebooting this blog, and moving all the old stuff to a separate archive. I’m making no promises to you, and the only promise I’m making myself is to finish the last few lines of this great, thoughtful essay. But going forward, the primary purpose of this blog is only to arrange the words that are tumbling around in my soul. Or maybe only the ones that might make you like me more.

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