Random Thoughts Vol.5: The Writer’s Brain And Grand Epiphanies
I’m convinced that a writer’s brain is wired differently from a non-writer’s brain. I think the writer, if skilled in his or her craft, is more selective in what they say and how they structure words. For this writer, that molding of words, or wordsmithing, is transferred to everyday verbal communication, and I’ve noticed this when contrasted with what I don’t do, but other people do.
A fellow student made a stupid statement to me after class. Right after it came out of his mouth, he said “I know you probably think that sounds stupid.” Yep, that’s exactly what I thought, but I didn’t tell him that. His statement was so fucking stupid and thoughtless, and given the subject of it, I lost respect for him just for saying it. What he said showcased the difference between a writer’s mentality and a non-writer’s mentality. That’s something I next to never say. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever said that. I’m constantly selecting my words and engaging in self-censorship. I think about what I’m going to say before it comes out of my mouth, in order to maintain clarity of speech and avoid sounding dumb. It’s like it’s written in my mind before it’s ejected out of my mouth. Journalists are trained to write in a clear and concise manner, and seemingly automatically such a practice has been transferred to my verbal interaction.
To the writer, words are not” just words.” To take such a dismissive position is to reduce the significance of writing, along with oral communication. Words have feel, context, connotation, and even texture. Over the non-writer, I think I have a greater understanding of the response to words and to language, which has led to a greater attention to self-selection of the words I use.
Within in the past year, I’ve had a few epiphanies and came to some serious realizations: The first struck me last summer, which was becoming fully aware of just how dumb most of the students at UCM are. The other was realizing and accepting how much of an anomaly I am. The second came as a direct result of acknowledging the first.
I stumbled upon my third epiphany just a couple of weeks ago: It was that grad school might not help me reach my goal in life. I might not need it. I’ve come to the conclusion, given what I have in mind, the grind is more important, and will probably serve to get me where I’m trying to go faster. My life goal is to become a famous writer. Of course I love journalism, but that’s just phase one of my plan. Journalism is partially a way to familiarize people with my writing and my name, and the next stage, after further establishing my name, is to make the move to being a published author. I’ve changed a step in my plan: I’ve decided not to do grad school. I thought about it, and the amount of time spent doing grad work would detract from time I could and should spend getting my name out there in the field, getting more of my work, my writing out there. My initial plan was to do well at UCM and then move on to doing my masters at a more prestigious university. UCM would be my catapult, launching me to greener pastures, but another go round of schooling at a more “prestigious” university is not necessary needed to move on to that higher ground.
One of my favorite writers is Chuck Klosterman; he writes about pop-culture. He was once a senior writer at Spin magazine. He writes for Esquire magazine, and he has authored several books. He went to some four year college in bumfuck North Dakota.( just as I’m going to college stuck in the middle of Missouri) Klosterman’s writing is amazing. His primary focus is pop-culture, but when he writes on the subject, he performs critical analysis that is both in depth and unorthodox, and I often walk away from his writing thinking, I never thought of that before , but now that you mention that really makes sense. Through his analysis and razor sharp wit, Chuck Klosterman is able to fish out layers of significance from subjects a lot of people would consider insignificant, because the subjects are not typically ones a lot of people would even spend time analyzing. Which is more important in the case of Chuck Klosterman: Where his alma mater is located or his writing ability?
One of my reasons for wanting to attend a more “prestigious” university after finishing my undergrad degree might sound like pure vanity: It was to be a selling point. I wanted the name of a more prestigious university stamped on the inside of a book jacket beside my name to act as a selling point, along with a validation of intelligence. The quality of my writing alone should be the selling point, and a number of people have already said my writing is really good. I’m not about to tell someone not to go to college. We’ve entered the post-industrial age, an age in which a college degree has practically become a necessity, and because of this, the bachelor’s degree is now devalued. (because more people have them now than in the past) Resources that are the most limited become the most valuable. If the opposite happens, the value decreases.
As I’ve said before, if someone is going for the brass ring, they need to go above and beyond the norm, the average. Being average will lead to an average salary and an average life, but going above and beyond does not strictly entail getting a master’s degree and then a P.H.D. There is a lot to be said for raw talent, drive, and someone’s grind. Ask Russell Simmons and Bill Gates about that.