Strange how you can be perfectly cogent in one writing mode and incoherent in another. I distress over that when I’m writing fiction– “Write the story like it’s an essay about something that hasn’t happened yet.” (Delightful, but this never works.) Relatedly, my good-writing voice is only sometimes plugged in. I’m working on a project with another friend for The Toast which required me to edit a three-hour gchat session into less keyboard mash, more palaver. I thought I was holding my own with the adults– a foreign policy analyst and an assistant professor– who sound more concise and authoritative than I do unedited. But upon review, I was same old me: a blowhard.
Relatedly, I am blogging less and using Twitter more. “Didn’t you start this blog to track how Twitter would affect your thought process?” asked a friend on Sunday. Yes I did. My more substantial ideas go to paid work, which this WordPress is not. Plus, there’s something Lily said weeks ago — why commit to coherence when on Twitter people will respond to what’s good and ignore the rest? But internet writing appeals to me for its ability to unspool and draw out, so I’m going to try something new: for at least the next week, at the end of the day I will turn a tweet into a blog post. Maybe the good-writing voice will appear. The good-writing voice’s chief characteristic is it knows exactly where nouns-as-verbs sound poetic– I think of Ben Lerner’s love of the verb “to brain,” a word like an American baseball bat boring a hole in your skull from the broad end. The goal of good-writing voice is to sound like a Russian laureate translated to his or her limited maximum abilities in another language. Good writing voice is conspicuously absent tonight. Too much articulation isn’t healthy for me.