Posted in Blog, Rant

Hm, it’s been a while since I last wrote; I tried to keep the post-per-week schedule intact, but work has a way of killing the literary spark at the end of long days, themselves a part of a series of long weeks. Creativity takes a nose dive in favor of technical fidgetry.

Writing is, for me anyway, an activity that should be pleasant and relaxing, with a healthy side effect of connecting with a few smart individuals[1]. Jotting down an idea and exposing it to a wider community – even if it’s merely a soapbox in an ocean of soapboxes – is itself a therapeutic exercise, plus it exercises the communicative muscles and keeps future communique above the third-grade reading level.

I’m a software engineer by trade, so life revolves around the study, usage, and application of software. It’d be easy (alright, easier) to delve into the intricacies of technical systems and comment on some piece of inappropriately written library code, but I do find pure technical writing to be dry, boring to both read and write, which already exists in massive quantities across IRC chats, forums, and Stack Overflow. I’ve consciously resisted the temptation to write something about coding, although I did succumb once, in a moment of weakness and frustration.

With that restriction, however, it’s tough to come up with that nugget of noteworthy insight or conversation-driving knowledge. When it does come, I have to take even more time tease something meaningful out of fleeting ideas and stray thoughts. More often than not I’d start a draft with a few keywords, figuring the creative juices will eventually fill out the rest of the page and that more significant trends and ideologies will find themselves written down and expressed with the least amount of snarkiness.

It would be meaningful and interesting to read.

So after a week, I delete the draft.

Once in a while, I get super-excited about a topic only to later realize that I may be the only person in the world who would care so much as to spend hours creating a written record on the topic. That is, I like to geek out about the games I play or the process of writing, and I inflate my post’s word count by waxing poetically about everything and nothing. Right now, I have a draft about what types of Tower Defense games I like; I’m guessing it will be purged with a bit of aging an somber considerations.

Sometimes, there is no substance there to fill out a thought. The observation that something is unusual can turn out to mean exactly that: it’s not indicative of larger trends or a subtle foreshadowing of a dystopian future. It actually does take a lot of effort to stretch a disturbance in the force into a grand unified theory of life, but it takes even more effort to admit that really, I have no idea what I’m talking about.

And when a meaty topic does come along, I almost never end up where my initial train of thought would logically arrive[2]. It’s a meandering stream of consciousness, making brief associations with ideas across time, but ultimately finishing at a terminus that signifies something significant, profound, or at least readable.

Still working on readable.

Footnotes    (↑ returns to text)

  1. Let’s get real: most comments on most sites are terrible, either anonymous or attached to a “real” online identity. Expectations are set appropriately and once in a while, the internet delivers something cool.
  2. In fact, I started this blog post wanting to talk about the futility of daily blog posts, a la The Daily Post. I didn’t get much further than repeating “I don’t like writing for writing’s sake” over and over again in increasing convoluted contexts.