A year or two or three ago, I started this blog. I wanted to write and try out new ways of expressing myself and my opinions. I don’t remember how much thought I put in to the title, but I do remember the after a post or two, I had it. Contradictory. I’ll link to my original explanation of the name.
What it came down to, is this, and it still holds very true: when I react to something, there’s always my first reaction, first thought(s). Depending on the thing, it can be pretty visceral and emotional. So I might decide to write something about it. My first attempt to write is almost always my visceral response. As I keep writing, the rest of my brain engaged. Some critical thinking shows up, maybe some logic and a clearer head. So, as I keep going, my initial reaction gets tempered and I begin to express a much more balanced look at whatever “it” is. In real life, I tend to see most things from all the different sides available. What happens then, is that the piece of writing goes from my intense first reaction, very often to something very different. I’ll even talk myself out of the first reaction and come around to the other side of things; therein lies the contradiction in the title.
Writing a post involves me coming up with and idea and the writing a draft. Then I’ll reread it, get someone else to read it, then maybe scrap it, or simply edit it. There’s a couple of layers that it has to get through before its done and I post it. Often, it’s starts as one thing and ends as another. That’s how my non-photography posts tend to go.
I keep a journal. Sort of two journals, inconsistently, but still, I’m writing in them regularly these days. There’s the electronic journal, locked away in my phone, and the paper journal. The things that go into the electronic one, those are the most visceral of all. They’re very short and very much in the moment. That’s become a bit of a dumping ground for high emotion, be it anger (often), sadness (more often than I’d like), or joy (more often than I admit). That journal is not safe for public consumption.
The written journal has fewer entries. Looking back at what I’ve written there is a bit like looking back at something you wrote in high school. They are basically longer versions of the electronic journal, but nowhere near ready for public consumption. They are still filled with the high emotion, that most likely prompted them in the first place. The journal is where I’m talking to myself, trying to process what’s happening in my head. That process is great but hard. I get the thoughts, emotions out on to the page, I try to be a little more detailed in the content, putting all the pieces (in the moment) into some kind of order, so that I can try to make sense of what I’m thinking and especially feeling. That’s really important for me and sort of the point behind writing it down in the first place. If I can get it out of my head and start putting words to it, then I can more easily identify and own what I’m feeling. They can still be pretty intense and reactionary, and sometimes, to me, read like an emo teenager wrote them. Basically, not something someone else might properly understand. It’d be like peeking into my mind and seeing the thoughts I haven’t actually finished thinking yet.
The next part is where I try to bring some critical thinking to the matter and maybe a little less emotion. That might just be in my brain, where I can come to terms with the thing. Or it will become a blog post or whatever.
All three are invaluable to me. The brainstorming, the rough draft, and the final copy. The emotions will almost always be the same, but their intensity, temperature and clarity often change dramatically.
Thanks for reading.