the whys and wherefores of it, part 1

One of the risks of writing is it can be a mere exercise in self-indulgence.

I’ve had occasional encounters with people who speak eloquently, yet in a way that makes me think they simply love hearing themselves talk. They enjoy how nice and smart they sound, and how they are able to come up with highfalutin words and be so effortless in their eee-nunn-cee-eyy-shunn. Half of the time something of value is actually said, but even that is tainted by the seemingly greater interest in gratifying a need for self-importance — to convey an impressive, “significant” message — than in the content and the utility of the message itself.

I’ve done much worse as an aspiring writer. I remember working for our high school organ and yearbook, and cringing years later as I  re-read what I had written. Suffice to say that it was puke-inducing. Apparently, I had been hell-bent on wowing with my extensive vocabulary and flair for dramatics, and the result was a definite how-not-to-write textbook case: wordy, hyperbolic and painful to read, especially out loud, and in dire need of substance.  Back then I felt such pride over my teachers’ approval of my work; now I only have a grudge that they let me put all that crap out to the public, and skepticism over their qualifications as “advisers.”

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