When I started this blog, my intention was to write in the form of traditional essays. A blog can be anything. Even I, as a many-time failed blogger, could see that. But, I chose the essay because that was the form I had written in most of my life. I didn’t have skills in poetry, drawing, photography or anything else that I could hope to produce with any competence or consistency. But, I knew that I could attempt to write about something, which is what the word essay, that comes from the French essai, means. This form, and the manner of titles it chose in its formative years, where it would attempt to say something about something (which could be anything) by prefacing it with an Of gave me the order I needed for what I wanted to do. Its simplicity, its minimalism, its endless scope for subject gave me the structure I needed to build this into something. Something, that can be counted among other alive and thriving blogs. Alain de Botton has argued that in our taste for how we design our lives, we look for the opposite of what we are. It isn’t an exclusive, black-and-white scenario, but to him, the general rule is, one with a colourful temperament looks for something minimalist and uncluttered; and vice-versa. I suppose that is why my meandering, digressive self still unfailingly seeps into this minimalist structure I’ve created. But, does that work towards its fault or its merit?
My mind is like a fairground. Many different strands of thought co-exist next to each other, and I go through them like a child who is going to a fair for the first time with a bag full of change. This is the normal state of it and, in fact, I prefer it. I abhor the singularity of thought during extreme mood swings. Even when I’m happy, my singular happiness feels empty, while the reverse is an even greater causation for emptiness. I like the colourfulness of my mind, though it means I can’t do anything in great detail. I wish I was an expert in something. That I knew everything there was to know about something. Even when that happens – like it did for The Beatles and Al Pacino films – my memory is not good enough to retain all the information. I retain impressions instead, where I always remember the emotive aspect of something rather than the informational aspect.
But, I digress. Both, in the sense of digressing in the last paragraph and in general. The consequence of having such a mind is my incessant, uncontrollable propensity to talk too much and write too much. Before you judge me, I do make an effort to listen. I’m not always successful but, if I did not have enough information feeding into my fairground mind, it would have run out of business long ago.
Of course, being a meandering self isn’t very practical. A comment I’d often get for essays in school was, “too long!” “Get to the point” is something I’m sometimes told. That is why I prefer writing to speaking. With writing, I can cut the refuse. Which is what I do everywhere else if I have time. I can even “kill” my “darlings” if I manage to be wise enough on that day. But, in this blog, I want to to defend my meandering writing style. And I have a very good reason for it.
I write conversationally. Even if I chose the medium of the essay, I still make a point to keep it light, contemporary, personality-driven, jargon-free. When we have conversations, we aren’t exactly drawn to people who speak with an introduction-body-conclusion structure. Conversations can neither be linear nor cyclical. Conversations are sometimes connective, sometimes non-sequitur, communications where the only coherence we’re looking for is in a stated idea, not even a sentence. Not in the conversation as a whole. We gain a general idea of what is being talked about, remember certain phrases, and most of all, remember the conversationalist. With writing, we expect some sort of linear/cyclical structure or order. We expect it to be a unified, logical thing.
But, that kind of writing for me is like a monochromatic sweater, whereas I prefer quite a hippie poncho. That is just how my mind works. I could give you the monochromatic sweater, but it wouldn’t be true to my intentions with this blog. My hippie poncho maybe too confusing and kitschy for you, but “my coat of many colours” is what “my momma made for me” while she also made the rest of me. This is how I was born and I hope it isn’t too irksome for most of you. I really can’t help it.