Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Never Commit to Writing ...

I learned a lesson today.

I posted to my blog earlier, and had little success in being okay with what I wrote. Self-censorship is an interesting thing. It happens out of guilt. I've never had to remove a posting before, and have never had one removed by a moderator or a forum administrator. Certainly, I think a blog entry is what it is and there really isn't anything that Blogger can do about it. But, I wasn't able to just let my post sit there and be read by the Internet dwellers of the world.

I said some nasty things about someone that I don't know at all, except for what I see displayed in public. That person's not always at their best in those circumstances. And I said some other, rather harsh things about someone else that I didn't know, and the same things I said about both of those individuals could have been applied to ... well, me.

A very, VERY wise man once told me, "Never commit to writing anything you aren't willing to die for." The reason is, once it's committed to writing, it's indelible. It's in writing, and no matter how things change, no matter how your mood may lift or shift from the time of the writing, the words you scribe will NEVER change. They are permanently etched into the ether of history, and will always be there to splash in your face like acid when you least expect them to. Or want them to. No matter what the situation is, there is never a good reason to write something -- at least something that someone else may read -- in anger. You will, without variance, regret it at some point.

Your perspective changes with time -- hopefully. You grow. The heat of the anger wears off and that moment passes. You may or may not feel differently about what you wrote than you did when you wrote it, but the fact is, your perspective will change. If you've written down something that can't be retrieved, you will likely have to face ongoing or much more dramatic consequences than you anticipated because the words you used will be available for posterity. It's seldom worth the ramifications.

On the other hand, things can be written down. Journaling is a therapeutic form of expunging information, feelings, thoughts and works as a substitute for action in many cases. You can write for catharsis, and to try and clarify your thoughts and sort things through. In those instances, you are writing for yourself, however, and others are not intended to read them. When purging feelings, writing is a useful tool to many, but it should always be remembered that this is for your benefit, and should not be shared with anyone else. Doing so can be destructive. I know; I wrote something once that was the camel that broke the straw back of a weak and failing marriage.

Sometimes, writing is a way to say things to someone that allows for uninterrupted, non-argumentative communication in which the two parties do not have to face one another. When one person is not as effective a verbal communicator as another, writing can be a method for saying what's on the heart and so-called mind, without having to bear the immediate response ("reaction", actually) of the other party. However, again, be very careful in those instances. Retraction of what is in writing is difficult if not impossible. It's there, ready to be picked up and read again and again, to remind the reader of the feelings and anger that went into it. Communication in this way may be more effective than ever intended.

As for me, I've written things I regret, and things I don't regret. I've said some really great things in writing that I don't think I could have said verbally, at least to the same level of effectiveness. And, I've pulled some boners too. They fly like boomerangs and hit me in the back of the head. It's not possible to deny or lay context to the statement they way it is with verbal communication, because -- as I've said -- there it is, staring the reader in the face, and the context that is remembered will be the context of everything else written, not the events surrounding them. That's the rub. Only what was written will later matter, not any reasons -- however justifiable -- that may have existed.

So, realizing that I'd said things that I couldn't possibly mean, couldn't possibly know, and shouldn't have said, I removed the post. After all, what if the person(s) I'd written about actually saw my writing? It's not likely, but it's possible, I suppose. This is the Internet, after all, and there is nothing about my blog that keeps it from public view. I thought better of it later, and deleted it so that I would not have to feel guilty later, would not have to face the ramifications of what I said, and would not later have to eat those words that I so bitterly seasoned.

Well … I guess I've written enough about what I haven't written, haven't I?


No comments: