The Art of Substance

BY

KALPA LUTCHMUN


“Oh, you’re a writer? Easiest job in the world! Right?”

As I begin to write this, I know the words will race against each other, tumbling out of my brain, flow through my fingertips onto my keyboard, burst forth onto my screen and spill over into existence. I know my thoughts are so fast paced and ever changing, that it is almost impossible to keep them contained long enough before the next one bombards my brain.

I enjoy this feeling more than anything else. I know I am inspired and I cannot stop. It sure beats the feeling of having the dreaded writer’s block. Where I get so frustrated with myself and my complete lack of inspired creativity, that I feel average minded. I feel like the world has won, with all its constant distractions and social media addictions. I hate not being able to express myself in the purest way I know how. I’m forever tweeting, but I cannot seem to gather my thoughts into more than a succinct 140 characters anymore. And it is this that scares me above all.

The power of words is everything to me. There is no other greater art form. Without words and their vast contradictory meanings, how do we even begin to describe other art forms? How would you describe the mysterious, ever changing allure of the Mona Lisa? How would you describe the melodic emotions of your favourite song to someone who has never heard it? We’re constantly using words, writing down moments in our memories, storing up quotes that apply to us, or that just add pure meaning to our lives. For writers though, words are much more than just tools we use to get our point across to people. Words are immense in their ability to inspire, to captivate and to influence. I cannot imagine how I would feel if the luxury of being able to write eloquently was not available to me.

My writing skills are not something I take for granted. I am well aware that my ability to put emotion into words and evoke a response from it is not something everyone can do, but amongst other writers is where I feel at my most elementary. As a writer, I read things in a critical manner. I read it from a literary perspective. In my mind I have a checklist of things that I tick off as I am reading. Does this grab my attention? Does it change or enhance my perceptions on the topic being discussed? Has the writer managed to make me feel any sort of emotion in their carefully selected spectrum of words? And lastly, could I have written this better?!

All writers compete with and appreciate each other. Writers are firstly readers. So we enjoy reading well structured pieces of writing, BUT we are also judgemental. You have to earn the right to be called a writer. You can’t just spew out some assortment of words onto your blog and then expect people to relate to, or even enjoy what you have to say. You have to respect the impact that a well executed piece of writing can achieve. There is no room for spelling errors in a writer’s mind. That luxury is only afforded to those of us who use the advantage of poetic license.

While I will admit to expecting levels of perfection when it comes to certain things, literature is where I expect the most. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make everything I write better than the last time. I am always competing and pushing the limits of my writing capabilities to see how far I can stretch myself. My laptop is filled with files of writing I cannot publish, because I am not convinced it is up to standard. It takes me forever to post an opinion piece. I am my own worst critic. And trust me when I say this, writers are full of contradictions. We judge ourselves harshly, to the point where we end up erasing thousands of words to start over, staring at a blank screen. But at the same time, when I get that feeling of satisfaction after reading something 20 times over and it is as perfect as it can get, my ego is on Yeezus level.

Chuck Lorre, writer of shows such as The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men, is famous for writing what he calls “vanity cards” and screening them for a flashing second after every one of his shows. It took a while for people to notice it, but pretty soon it became a thing. Viewers would press pause and stop to read whatever was on Chuck’s mind at the time he wrote that particular card.

Sometimes it was magnificent, awe inspiring, thought provoking paragraphs, that made you want to absorb every word on the screen and imprint it onto your mind forever. At other times, he would blatantly write things to infuriate the public broadcaster, or piss people off. Many were egotistical, many were self-deprecating, all of them made me want to read more. His ability to draw in an audience is unparalleled. It was also his vanity cards that inspired this mini rant of mine. He wrote WHATEVER he wanted and didn’t care whether people paused to read it or not. He still wrote it. And wrote it impeccably.

Half the literate population seem to think that it’s difficult to convey sarcasm in writing. No, it really isn’t, the people who think that are usually the ones who explain their own jokes, while seemingly unaware of all the eye rolling going on behind their backs. Sarcasm, when conveyed correctly, can bring a whole other level of wit and intelligence into literary enjoyment and it is almost always done with humorous intention. Of course, the basis of a successful sarcastic comment has some truth in it, which is why many people assume my Twitter bio is a sarcastic reflection of me (It’s – Aesthetically Pleasing. Smart. Funny” by the way.)

And after reading this, I’m sure you can confidently say – their assumptions would be correct.


Digital Painting by Linda Greenberg

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4 Replies to “The Art of Substance”

  1. Love this piece. It spoke to me on so many levels. Very familiar thoughts and feelings. I enjoyed it… thoroughly. Thank you.

  2. I really love this piece. It’s been awhile since I wrote, poetry specifically, but this piece just reminded me why I love writing so much. I can relate quite a bit. You got mad talent b, don’t ever stop writing! Thank you for the great read!

  3. This resonated with me on such deep level i became uncomfortable reading it. Beautifully rendered piece you birthed ma’am, it jolts a kick and packs a punch, which is not only sound ,but rather i find it to be ultra-sound.

    Exulansis

    -n. the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it—whether through envy or pity or simple foreignness—which allows it to drift away from the rest of your life story, until the memory itself feels out of place, almost mythical, wandering restlessly in the fog, no longer even looking for a place to land.

    Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

  4. This resonated with me on such an uncanny level i started becoming uncomfortable reading it. Beautifully rendered piece you birthed ma’am, it jolts a kick and packs a punch, which is to say that it’s not only sound, but rather more ultra-sound.

    Exulansis

    n. the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it—whether through envy or pity or simple foreignness—which allows it to drift away from the rest of your life story, until the memory itself feels out of place, almost mythical, wandering restlessly in the fog, no longer even looking for a place to land.

    Dictionary of obscure sorrows.

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