Writing for the Universe
I hate writing for the universe. It’s like dancing in front of a jeering crowd, painfully aware of yourself. You feel caged in your own body with every thought from the audience jabbing your heart as you move. Yet unlike dancing, writers can’t avoid the audience. They are haunted by them in every word they write. The audience will weasel the heart out of you, whether you like it or not, though somehow they’ll convince you that you do.
The relationship between the writer and the audience is unfortunately unavoidable and, coupled with the instability of text, creates a garbled mess. Perhaps this occurs because in fear, the writer sends out her inner idiot to prance around on the piece of paper. She’ll go out there with her briefcase full of statistics and meaningless facts, vomit up an essay, and be done with it. And of course everyone will know it’s stupid, but the alternative is actually having to find your voice, and that is often too terrifying a thought.
No coward ever wrote anything worthwhile. It takes courage to find the deepest part of yourself and place it in black and white for everyone to see. It takes courage to raise your voice loud enough over the crowd of acceptability to be heard. In order to write anything beyond the boundaries of what people have done for eons, you have to bend your perception of reality and warp it until it is unrecognizable. And from there, find what remains from before.
Writing is a fantastical magic trick performed in front of a rotten-fruit-toting audience. That’s not to say that the audience is inherently cruel in some fashion, but rather that they are unfettered from the restrictions that normally dominate communication. In this context, the audience is masked. They can’t be held responsible to society for the way they see the text, the opinions they hold, and those they express.
People are indoctrinated to believe that the way to appease the masked masses lies in remaining inside the lines of propriety. Don’t step outside the predetermined dichotomy, and don’t write in any way too radical. Yet all this brings is a cycle of idiots pontificating pointlessly, feeding an overall lack of imagination.
Perhaps the only way to overcome this cycle is to give up caring. If in the darkest part of your life you discover words, and they stand as the one thing between you and utter despair, your relationship with them changes entirely. The fickle opinions of an unseen audience don’t matter. If the audience matters at all, it is merely because they are there. The pretense of the world falls away because there is an understanding in that moment of the human connection in writing.
I find the more you learn about writing, the more you lose sight of why you wanted to write in the first place. The dance performed before the audience is no longer a connection of the human condition, but rather a twisted game of meaningless roles. Writing to the universe is like dancing in a box—you have the key to unlock it, but you keep changing the lock.
Brianna Russell-Weddington is a college student and avid community volunteer who believes in simplicity. She lives in the Colorado mountains at the oxygen deprived altitude of 9,200 ft.