The Written Word and the Human Condition of Awkwardness

Today I would like to discuss my great love: words.  The written word to be specific, as the spoken word has betrayed me too often to be trusted.  Oh stammering, unwieldy tongue!  The awkwardness, that makes me want to die of shame!!  Typing out my thoughts has always been my redemption.  And why is this?

You can delete stuff!

Imagine being able to look back and think, “Well that conversation didn’t go exactly to plan.  Sheesh!”  And then, BACKSPACE! it’s as if it never happened!  Imagine the possibilities.

And the chaos, granted.

When I write, however, whether novelistically or blogging-wise or even conversationally over various chatting interfaces, I can take the time to say what I want to say and get it as perfect as possible.  And I can type out possible sentences, test the waters as it were, and then go – no! terrible! – and furious backspacing makes it nil.  In the spoken word, once it’s out of your mouth, it’s too late!  You can’t go back and re-do.  Some might make the argument for script-reading and acting which involves “takes”, but that’s quite obviously not what I’m referring to.

I mean real life conversation.  At which I often suck.

And you know how there are those situations when you find yourself unexpectedly in confrontation, and 5 minutes/hours/days/years later you come up with the perfect witty response????  In the written word you can go back, even years later, and change what was into what you wish it had been.  Amazing!

But then, there comes the problem of making prose too perfect – the character that never fails to produce the wittiest parting shots, the lovers that seem to have muses of love poetry whispering in their ears.  It’s just not believable.  Life’s all kinds of awkward.  And if art is to imitate life, then the written word has to reflect this.

So as much as  I dream of being able to backspace past stupidities, mistakes and all my shining moments of awkwardness, I can’t.  And while I love the written word’s powers of deletion, I feel it is a power that must be used responsibly in order to produce life-like results!

Let’s all rejoice in our awkwardness – it makes us human!

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