to bare your soul
May 6, 2016
Recently I’ve taken to trying to make my posts/essays into more of a personal narrative style. I asked yesterday on twitter and tumblr how people were liking this. For the responses I got, the consensus was that this was a Good Thing.
The primary reason given for this was that the personal stories and/or narrative style gave a concrete framework for the abstract ideas I discussed. Which was a good thing for a lot of people, since, well, pure abstract thinking can be occassionally difficult to swallow and examples really are useful.
I think I also mentioned a long while ago that I really wanted to become an essayist. And I do! Of course, not all essays need to have a narrative, but I’ve noticed myself that it is more compelling to read a story vs an academic paper. I think one of the best examples of this is Jorge Luis Borges one of my favourite short story writers. Reading one of his stories can teach you more about post-modernism than a stack of Derrida. Better yet, it’ll teach while also entertaining and making the overall experience more pleasurable.
So… Narratives and stories.
When I was talking with people yesterday I also remembered another important aspect to SJW discourse, which is to ground your ‘theory’ in personal, lived experience. I think I’ve wandered somewhat far from this, as my writing has been fairly… idk, dry and abstract of late? Or something anyway. But focusing on telling a story really forces me to ensure that I’m speaking from my own experiences and what I’ve learned because of them.
Another positive from this is that it is also a lot clearer that I’m not attempting to come up with a prescriptive or normative philosophy. Talking about my own life and the lessons I’ve learned addresses some of my concerns about generalizing too much and speaking for other people. Which isn’t something I actually want to do.
I’m sure this structure won’t hold true for everything I write. But I’m glad to starting exercising the skill and incorporating it into my poetics.
Who knows? Now that I’m doxed and out in the open, perhaps its time to be a little more vulnerable.
(I say all this knowing full well that these kinds of intimate disclosures will likely end up biting me in the ass later. If there is one thing that assholes on the internet love, its twisting your experiences and life to hurt you. But that’s a story for a different day…)