Between Writing and Making

April 18th, 2008 § 0 comments

Finishing what I call the first draft of my thesis, although it has been edited more times that I would like to imagine in the past few weeks, felt like losing a vital part of my body. I am not sure if it was just the stress of trying to get it all out and done and ready to read, finishing a paper of any sort always comes with a kind of relief. Writing long essays reminds me of giving a speech, it is really hard to remember exactly what you said and why, even if you have it printed out and can read from it. The words seem alien, different somehow when they are spoken. Reading through my thesis I read things I did not even realize I thought. It is a process that leaves me wondering a little how I got to the end result, when did the words mutate and change, when did new thoughts appear and why? I would say it feels like I am making things up were I not convinced that the great downfall to my writing, or perhaps its only strength, is its honesty. When I at last printed and sent all those words, hopefully with some amount of interest, it seemed like a part of my mind had been let go. Like dumping the trash on my desktop, my computer always runs a bit faster, I think I might be running a little different. Maybe there is something to seeing your thoughts on paper, stated without a way to back out or deny, that is like creating a new person from my thoughts. Editing is like assessing what that person is saying, trying to figure out if I agree enough to leave a sentence.

Making work on the other hand, feels like the complete opposite. Perhaps because I am making something hard and fixed, a cloth I can touch and hold, I experience it as something made rather than something lost or given. When I finish a project I feel like I have made something I can keep forever, even if the thing itself is far away or gone. I don’t think better of either, but I don’t think I could be a writer. It would seem like such a consistent drain. It would take years to be able to fill enough pages without feeling completely empty after. Perhaps writers, unlike myself, don’t like to collect information and hoard it away somewhere invisible, they like to release what might feel like pent up thoughts, stories, and words. My line of month seems to be “I never thought about that before” and perhaps this is what comes of writing more than I ought. While I think a good many people are driven by similar impulses, alike questions, I am interested to see how certain ways of knowing suit certain people. I hate the labeling of professions like that is all you are, or can be, because there is a huge amount of similarity between the inquiries. This seems like an example of that, while writing might be perfect for someone asking the same questions, it is not perfect for me.

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