Sunday, January 11, 2015

on the difficulty of picking a topic

Today I will tackle no less profound a question than the meaning of life. 

And then, abandoning that quixotic nonsense in a fit of eyes-wide-openness, I will instead move on to something more existentially relevant. Something no one's quite saying, but everyone wishes would be said. The sort of deep, burning topic that's too awkward to talk about anywhere but the internet. I am speaking, of course, about rectal itch.

No, wait.
That's not it. 
Far too gauche.

Let's move on.


Let's talk about something no one is talking about at all

Let's talk about sex [baby]. 

Nope.

That's not it, either. 

The problem, you see, is that this is all too broad. Which makes me think about the French Broad River up near Asheville, which makes me think about french broads, which makes me wonder if that's sexist, and if the namers of the French Broad River ought to have thrown a hyphen in between "French" and "Broad" to emphasize that sexism or maybe a comma, which then of course segues into a meditation on the vagaries of punctuation, before circling back to the word "segue." A funny word,by all counts, but all the more funny because my woman-friend had a Jewish-Russian teacher this past year who pronounced it "segg-ee" in class all the time, even though she was a bit of a grammar-nazi with her students (as English as a Second Language People can be). This was comedic for the class but also empathicable, my woman-friend said, because she, too, learned a lot of words from books and therefore (like myself) has often been publicly called out for gross mispronunciation.

My point being that things don't get interesting, writerly-wise, until you start to get specific. In specificity you find those human touches—those tiny hooks that'll make the little velcro-connections that'll keep 'em reading. 

Did you know that the inventor of Velcro got the idea for Velcro from the hooks on cockle-burs, whilst out on a ramble in the mountains?

I did.

Here's another thing I know: this particular post will not go viral. 

You're welcome to try to prove me wrong (please, do), but you will fail.  

That's because I've also learned that beyond just specificity-for-connection, a bit of writing's also got to provide an emotional experience, and I'd wager that almost none of you experience strong emotions when someone starts talking about cockle-burs.

Cockle-burs, cockle-burs, cockle-burs. 

I'm dying, here. 

Are you still reading? I mean, you must be, otherwise this is just a tree-falling-in-the-woods thing, or one-hand-clapping, and I have to start asking questions about why I'm doing this. Which segg-ees into questions about why I do anything, which of course brings us back to where we started, with the meaning of life. 

And, I suppose, rectal itch.
Which, let's face it—not cool, amiright?

Hypothetically-speaking, of course.

[I admit nothing] 

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