What is Your Writing Style? and other questions…

“Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.” – Hermann Hesse

Do you write from the head or the heart or both? Do you bleed words when you write, letting them flow freely, or do you measure each word and carefully filter what you say? Are you very focused on your style, keeping it consistent, throwing out anything which does not fit in with it, or just let whatever is within gush out, influenced by the rhythm of your moods, passions and obsessions?

Do you only write when emotionally aroused, when happy, sad, angry, elated, or when intellectually stimulated, needing to get a burning or soothing opinion across?

What is your writing voice? Is it your own inner voice, or the one you use when speaking to others, or one which you would like to have and have worked long and hard to cultivate?

Is your writing style and voice influenced and affected by the style and voice of the writers whom you read? Do you write in a style similar to the author of the latest book you are reading? Does it change with a change of reading matter?

Do you speak to your audience or preach or ignore the reader entirely? Do you know, or think you know, who your audience is? Is it many, or just one, is that one you?

Have you noticed how many experts are more interested in proving to others how smart they are, and not particularly interested in really sharing what they know, perhaps because if they shared it then they would no longer be the smartest person in the room. A role many seek and few find, but many believe they have found it and then have to let everyone else know about it. Do they not realise that making others feel as though they are too dumb to comprehend such matters is antagonistic, and thus their pedestal is likely to be knocked over by the angry stupid masses who surround them.

And do you listen to what you say when you write? Do you really read what you’ve written, or only do so with an editing ear, not a ear seeking to hear what your writing self is trying to tell you?

So many questions, I know… this is the constant state of affairs in my head. Question everything and everyone. All part of my quest for knowledge, understanding, and to transmute those into some sort of wisdom to guide me wherever it leads.

“What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.” – Hermann Hesse

You’re about to get a taste of my writing style, if it can be considered to be writing. Technically it is.

I write as I think, and I think as I write, and so in essence my writing is conversations which are happening in my mind, then spilling out onto the page. Which is why I am a drossmeister, because I allow my thoughts to wander where the inner spirit takes them as I am curious to see where they lead me.

This can cause problems with staying focused. For instance right now I have about three conversations in my mind.

The one which I am expressing here in words, which started off as a contemplation of writing styles. I am very intrigued by the theory of voice. Voice as expressed through writing, and how that intertwines and influences the voice we express in sound. And other musings of this sort.

Another one is a grumble caused by my eyes briefly catching sight of a headline, and the words which I read sparked my match-like temper, I wanted to argue with it, to rant, but more than that, I felt a sudden urge to get at the root of why this particular thing annoyed me enough to get my attention and start a conversation in my mind. It didn’t used to bother me, but now it does. Perhaps its number is up.

The third is an amalgamation of thoughts, all swirling together, somehow connected but the connection is unclear until the conversation is allowed to converse.

1. My cat is in a strange mood today, perhaps because I moved furniture around yesterday and moved its favourite chair, perhaps because the weather is changing from Summer to Autumn. The flies are being very bothersome today too, perhaps there is a storm brewing. The cat keeps making plaintiff sounds which pierce my concentration and are poking me to make my own plaintiff sound…

2. …which reminds me of that woman in the store the other day who was standing on her own shouting angrily…

3. …which reminds me of how quickly our minds adapt to new things. Not so long ago a person walking down the street talking to themselves would have been considered crazy and people would have crossed the road to avoid them, but these days we just assume that they are on a mobile phone, so it’s okay, nothing to be feared…

4. …so instead of security being summoned to usher this crazy woman out of the store as she was disturbing the peace for other customers, we all ignore her because she is having a private conversation in a public place, and because she is on the phone it is okay for her to yell furiously in the middle of the shop…

5. …unlike the young child whom I had passed earlier who was crying loudly enough to embarrass his shushing parents and irritate the delicate ears of passers-by, who glared at him and probably fantasised briefly about doing things to him which would be considered reprehensible crimes. His cries of distress, of tiredness, of hunger, were to be silenced for the convenience of all the adults around him…

6. …but the angrily shouting woman could continue unmolested by attempts to inform her that she was creating a disturbance. Perhaps because she was an adult, and an angry shouting one, and no one approached her because they did not want to bear the brunt of her venom, whereas the child was a child, and easily intimated by the mighty adults around it.

7. I wonder if that child will grow up to be like the woman, and shout angrily into his phone in shops to make up for all the times he was shushed, or will he become someone who keeps quiet for fear of bothering others with the sound of his voice, even when he is in distress and should speak out.

The thing which struck me the most about the woman’s action was that the reason for her angry shouting was due to the person on the other end of her private conversation, she was shouting “Stop shouting!”

Twas ever thus.

And that reminds me of all the people who accuse others of doing what they themselves are doing, yet they miss that detail and continue with their quest to be right and for the other person to be in the wrong, without seemingly being aware that they are doing it too. Unless it is only a bad thing when others do it, and when they do it, it is sublime. They are often those who are quickest to tell others to stop projecting their shit onto them, they feel very clever when they say that, superior to the blinkered other person, enlightened, yet rarely do they notice that they do it too. Perhaps because it is too painful to see.

“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.” – Hermann Hesse

I do that… I don’t think anyone is exempt from it. Ever since I started being aware of this propensity to project onto to others my own behaviour, I have found it increasingly hard to be inflexible in my views and interactions. To see myself as right and the other as wrong. There is always a part of me standing to one side of me, observing my words and my actions, and often making little comments or sounds, the most popular one being a heavy sigh.

This used to silence me and hamper my interactions, my self expression, it caused me to doubt myself, question my motives, dither, and it even began to seep into my inner conversations, stopping me from fully exploring them because I was censoring myself, not allowing projections to occur, even private ones… yet projections play a vital part in understanding, in gaining knowledge which can, with the right mix of ingredients, turn into wisdom.

Wisdom often comes from making a chaotic mess, then stepping back and really looking at the mess, searching the debris for that bright spark which once lay hidden when everything was tidy, ordered and neatly piled on top of it, but is now in the open, a gold nugget in amongst all the fool’s gold.

Everything is a projection, is personal to us even when we think it is impersonal. We read a headline, the ones which catch our attention, which make us react, are personal, even if we believe they are not. Even if the headline speaks of places, people, and a culture we do not know and may never know.

The world is made up of humans being human and doing human things. And we are human. So…

Something makes us feel unsafe, threatened, or makes us question our life, our beliefs, what we hold dear, what keeps us going… and we react or respond. A button pressed, triggering a chain reaction. It can reveal so much to us about ourselves, but that kind of revelation often scares us, makes us feel unsafe, threatened, so we detached from it, disassociate ourselves from the parts of us we do not want, like, and we intellectualise about it, distracting ourselves from that which lies beneath. Yet…

Writing about it is one way to see and hear and listen and know… through our writing others get to know us, but more important still, we get to know ourselves in a way which allows us to create a mess of words and then step back from it, observe, and perhaps find a diamond which had been hidden in the earth of our being.

“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.” – Hermann Hesse