It’s a funny thing when you stop writing. It’s also a funny thing to write in second person, but I’ve managed to do both.
How do you simultaneously stop writing and write in second person? It seems like a logical oddity, a riddle, a paradox. But, turns out it’s none of that. You just do it in your head.
You start by simply questioning those around you, albeit silently.
“Why are you driving like an asshole?”
“Really, you can’t help me with my mailing?”
“Are you certain you should tell me that you stayed up past midnight playing on your phone?”
Granted, that’s not writing. It’s snotty sarcasm aping as internal monologue. But, it’s habit forming. So, when something really worth writing does come around the bend, you find yourself ranting off all sorts of emotive poetry, hyperbole, and whimsical observation from deep inside your brain—none of which you, or anyone else, get to read.
And that part sucks. Some of my best writing is still in my head somewhere. Honestly, where else do you keep it?
Truth: the second person bit is the real challenge. When’s the last time you tried it? Probably about that time your advanced comp teacher told you you were being lazy and yelled that you should learn to find your objectivity and remove yourself from the story—yet still have a voice: “It’s not all about you!”
Whatever. I beg to differ.
It doesn’t even matter what person you’re writing in as long as you’re writing to somebody. That’s the big point, right, making sure you actually have an audience?
Which brings you to my very first point: not writing at all. Stopping. Ceasing. Not knowing what to write because you don’t know who the audience will be. Even in blogs this is important because, face it, not everyone always wants to read what you’re going through or what it is you think you have to say.
That’s how I felt three weeks ago when I finally, excruciatingly and with full-tilt melancholia, made the “let me stick hot wax in my eyeballs” decision to put my dog down. I would have rather laid on a bed of glass. Really, and I’m not bullshitting you with hyperbole.
Sure, I tried a few lines when I was and wasn’t crying:
–treading water in the wake of death
–wind chimes, ocean buoys, and grieving for dogs: i.e. things that moan.
But it didn’t go anywhere. Who wants to read that? You want to laugh, be moved, relate—and when you’re bouncing back and forth between despondent and completely agitated, you just can’t come up with decent metaphors suited for anyone’s consumption.
So you rant. In your brain. Alone: where the best and most acute suffering seems to happen.
Ironically, my non-writing is probably also my best writing. But now you’ll never know.