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Editing Tips for Fuckups
As an academic and an
incompetent amateur writer, I spend a lot of time editing written work — maybe more time than I spend actually writing shit. I’ve torn my own work to shreds and given feedback on dozens of undergraduate and graduate papers, personal statements, and applications; I’ve edited book chapters and academic journal articles and attempted to lend them some coherence and polish. I’ve even taken up some pro-bono fiction editing for other writers on here (it’s great practice, and I highly recommend it as a writing exercise).
I’m also a commensurate fuckup! Typos, weird word choices, insane hyphen usage, overwriting, and blatheringly long pedantic purple-prose pretentiousness are just some of my cardinal sins. Editing helps make my shit less cringe-worthy. It also has the added benefit of feeling like productive “work” without being all that mentally taxing (i.e., it’s pretty easy to do in a tired/cracked out state, unlike real writing).
So far, this is what I’ve learned about effective editing. I think it applies to fiction and nonfiction, formal and informal writing, pretty much anything across the board:
- Read the work aloud. This has two benefits: 1) It slows down your reading, increasing the likelihood that you’ll notice errors; and 2) It shines a bright-ass beacon on anything that is awkwardly written or hard to follow. If you can’t read a piece aloud effortlessly, it will not make sense to a new reader.
- The above is doubly true for dialogue. Read that shit aloud. Hold dialogue to a merciless standard— if it sounds clunky or inauthentic, readers will notice and bristle. (But remember, there are many acceptable dialogue ‘styles’).
- Wait. Don’t edit something right after you’ve written it— you’ll miss the trees for the forest. Let a piece age at least a few days so you’ll approach it with fresher eyes.
- If you find a sentence that no longer makes sense (or that reads awkwardly), try explaining it aloud to yourself. Communicate your point conversationally. Try stating it to yourself a few times in a few different ways. You’ll hit on a better sentence structure eventually.
- If that doesn’t work, deliberately switch the sentence structure around. Go from passive to active voice. Bring the subject of the sentence to the front. Chop a lengthy sentence in half. There are a plethora of ways to skin the rhetorical cat.
- When in doubt, cut and re-word, rather than add. If you communicate your point clearly the first time, you won’t need to restate it seventeen times.
- Make sure you have a good reason for every choice you make and every word you include. Murder your darlings.
- Read a lot. Read good work, read bad work. When you read something that sucks, try to deconstruct exactly why it sucks, and how that suckage could have been avoided.
- Offer to edit another person’s work. This will help you catch flaws in your own writing, and teach you to articulate why a sentence or story doesn’t “work”.
- When reading or editing another person’s stuff, pay attention to their ‘ticks’, and see if you recognize any of their flaws as your own. Is there a sentence structure the person always falls back on? Do they use certain words or constructions too often? What mistakes does the writer make—and do you make them too?
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. The line between a ‘tick’ and a ‘style’ is very thin, and having a unique style and voice is a sign that you’ve mastered the art form!
- For real, don’t be too hard on yourself. As skein told me recently, “you’re more capable than anyone else of seeing the tremendous difference between imagined potential and the reality of your work.”
- Don’t let frustration drive you to abort a piece. Be proud of yourself for taking the time to improve your stuff.
- Know that editing is writing. Everybody has to do it (shut up right now with your bullshit Allen Ginsburg counter-examples). Many, many talented and successful authors wrote shithoused first drafts— everyone from Raymond Carver to Hugh Howey. Editing is an art to appreciate and a craft to master. Your writing and your self-esteem will thank you for it.
If you call yourself a writer, then write. You only have so many days here on earth, and any day you waste, you’ll never get back. So write. Any day you aren’t writing, you are just like every other fool watching a TV, not screaming at the heavens, not fighting the silence, just being pushed along the current.
I don’t care if it’s bad, or you have writer’s block, or you’re having a rough day - write. You MUST write, especially then. Any day you write, you struggle, any day you struggle, you understand, any day that you understand something, write.
Otherwise, why were you calling yourself a writer in the first place?
I’m not a writer,
but if I were:
I would personify words just
so I could take them out for coffee,
buy them a croissant or two, and
say, “Hey - how’d you like to be my world?”
I would get to know them all one-on-one and
learn more than just their definitions - I’d
pay interest to the curves of their letters,
the wave in their promise, and the emptiness
of the spaces between them
I would teach myself how to knit them into
stories, how to fold them into couplets,
and how to make liquid literature
flow gently into pedestrians’ eyes
I would find a way to make words mean
what I want them to mean
I would find a way to
make words matter again
I’m not the best writer you could ever think of, but I could say that I have improved. I can never think of the best titles to catch your attention. I even realized that my pieces are too often untitled. But even so, I have a piece of advice and sort of reminder to myself that I could share to you:
Don’t think of anything when you write. Don’t say things in your mind like: it should be this and it should be that. Write as if you’re a river. Let your words flow. The words the water, the fishes, your feelings. The healthier the water and what’s inside of it, the more beautiful the writing.
That should be the way.
How To Be A Writer : A Step by Step Guide
Be the weird kid in the corner no one wants to play with. (Optional: have dark thoughts, be a little narcissistic or find someone to steal your innocence)
Hide. Where it’s dark. Under the bed, the cupboard under the stairs, in the darkest recesses of your mind. Write about the monsters in the cupboard. Be told you have a wonderful imagination.
Grow up. Stay in the corner where no one wants to talk to you. Talk about the monsters that dwell inside. Be told you’re a little bit fucked up.
Alcohol. Drugs. Promiscuity.
Have your heart broken. Break hearts. Die once or twice. (Optional: therapy. Alcohol. Drugs. Abstinence.)
Congratulate yourself for making it this far. Write the bitterness and pain away. (Optional: give up on numerous occasions. Therapy in the form of caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.)
Jen's Complete Guides™ Presents:
Jen’s Complete Guide to Reading, Writing, and Evaluating Poetry*
*that no one under any circumstances should ever take seriously, ever
I read a lot of poetry. In any given day, I’d suppose on average I read around 500 poems, or at least the first couple of lines — most of it on Tumblr. Given the complex equations devised by geniuses to calculate this sort of thing, I’d wager my doing this pretty much every day without fail for well over a year means I am an expert, with apologies to those of you who think fancy degrees grant you such expertise. It is probably the case that you are right and I am wrong, but in the event that you’re not, I feel it important to press on sharing my surely ill-gained knowledge and expertise with the world.
You could spend hours of your life reading poetry — hours you could spend watching the same cat GIF over and over, watching infomercials on television with the sound off, watching paint dry, or doing other important things with your eyes — and still not gain the insight this post will reveal … and yet I am giving it to you all, right here, for freesies. (I just made that word up.)
Why? Because I can. Because I care about you, and I want the very best for you in life, and I believe that “very best” can best be gained by reading posts I write on Tumblr. Oh … you were asking why I made a word up. Same answer.
Let’s move on.
The poem. The first thing you notice about a poem is its title — if it has one. Poems don’t need titles, and some of them don’t have one ‘cause they’re rebels like that. Don’t discount a poem simply because it doesn’t have a title. Just side-eye it, like this:
Untitled poems like that. Poets who write untitled poems do it to alienate their readers, who might want to tell them “Hey Poet! I really liked [that poem],” but they won’t know what to call it (as indicated by the brackets), or how to evoke it in such a way that the poet will know to which poem they refer, so they’re floundering from the outset, all “Hey Poet! I really liked that poem you wrote that was about coffee but not really about coffee but you mentioned coffee and also orchids?” Making socially awkward people even more awkward is something most poets enjoy very much.
If the poem does have a title, it can give you some insight into how “good” the poem is. (“Good” is a term of art; no worries, we’ll cover that later.) The best titles will tell you something about what the poem is about, while at the same time telling you absolutely nothing at all. Sometimes, after reading the poem, you’ll feel as though the poem and the title are not related in any way whatsoever. This is a very good title, because it makes you think about that poem far longer than you would have otherwise.
And now we’re on to the poem itself. Poems should do one of three things: (1) show you something you’re interested to see; (2) tell you something you’re interested to hear; or (3) make you feel something. Some poems can do some combination of those things or even all of the above (those tend to be longer), but a “good” poem will do at least one of those things. (See, I told you we’d get to it.) Ideally, every line of the poem will do one of those things by itself, but you can’t really expect that from every poem. You know how no matter how great a movie is, there’s always a scene or two where you can safely take a bathroom break and not really miss anything? Poems are the same way, except you could take the poem with you to the bathroom and read it there if you wanted, so that’s not really a great analogy. But for lack of a better one, it’s alright if there are a few throwaway lines. Every great poem has a few throwaway lines — if they didn’t, you’d have no way of differentiating the really great lines, the ones a thousand hipsters have ragged tattoos of.
If at any point whilst reading a poem, you realize you don’t feel anything new at all (provided you’re not on drugs that would cause that to’ve happened), and/or you are no longer interested in anything the poet is trying to tell and/or show you, you should probably just stop reading right there and move on. As it has not met any of the three requirements of a “good” poem, it is not worth reading. For you. It might be amazing for someone else, but it doesn’t work for you. On your way, then, and don’t fault the poor poet for not reaching you — even the best poems will only appeal to a slight sliver of people, and that’s alright. If a poet attempted to write a poem that appealed to everyone, it actually wouldn’t appeal to anyone at all, because it wouldn’t make any sense.
Follow these succinct guidelines and you’ll be reading, writing, and evaluating poetry like a pro … sometime. Possibly.
Careful what you wish for
“You’re lucky,” she sighs from her curled kitten pose on my bed. “You’ve been written about so many times.”
I flick my eyes up from the desk momentarily. “I guess I run in the right circles for that.”
She shifts on the blankets, excitedly. “No, I mean - you’re a muse!” Her eyes are shining, wistfully. “I wish somebody would write about me.”
She wants my attention, and she’s got it. I put down my pen and focus sharply.
“No. You don’t.”
Her expression catches in surprise, and she quickly looks away as I gaze at her. Beautiful thing. She can never look me straight in the eye.
“Once a man or a woman writes you, whether they capture you right or oh-so-wrong, they own a piece of you. Understand, a writer’s imagination is a filthy, dangerous beast - beautiful, yes, but absolutely vicious. Once they have penned an idea of you to paper, you are chained to that ink. You are forced to live in the world that only they have the power to create for you. Their words will always define this fantasy version of you; the reflection of yourself that you will come to crave.
You will cease to become flesh and blood, that is, outside of the earthly pleasures that you will happily provide. You will become a sentient vessel for their inspiration; no longer a real person carrying real, unsightly damage. Even your darkest flaws will be given a luminous polish, because you have been transformed into a lofty concept. The fantasy of you will dance upon the page, taunting you endlessly, for you will never live up to a writer’s ideal vision of you. And you will never be written quite correctly either - it is impossible to capture all the miniscule imperfections of a human being, and writers tend to prefer to dress things up slightly, anyway. Their blurring of fact and fiction coupled with their unrealistic sense of aesthetics is a cruel legacy.
What I’m saying is, if a writer chooses to love you, you should run.”
She’s sitting up straight, chocolate pools of eyes raptly attentive. I continue.
“You won’t, of course, you’ll be utterly, hopelessly drawn in. A writer’s seduction is like nothing else on earth. If there is a romantic blood cell dwelling anywhere in your body, you will have no choice but to submit to it. You will feel yourself breathe through their words, aching for the strokes of their pen. You will become addicted to it, flattered, hypnotised, in thrall to the scenes they will write for you. You will become a rampant fiend for that high, searching time and again for your influence in the curved letters of each and every word.
Do you have any idea how exhausting that becomes? It is an unseen bullet, a piece of shrapnel caught between your ribs, ripping into your flesh painfully every time you laugh too hard or sleep on your side or let your guard down for even a moment.”
I regard the way she exhales slowly as I pause. I’m not quite finished yet.
“But if being loved by a writer is difficult, having a writer fall out of love with you is worse. And it is so easily achieved. If you, the muse, betray a writer’s fantasy, if you step outside the lines of their concocted characterisation of you, they will turn on you so fast you won’t be able to defend yourself. You won’t even feel the push off that pedestal until you fall to the ground with a bone-crushing thud. And it will hurt like hell, I warn you now.
As quickly as your ego was built up, you’ll be forced to watch it burn to the ground. Imagine all your shadows, every last scrap of shame, known and explored in the privacy of your shared vulnerability, splashed liberally on the page, for all to see. As beautiful, ethereal, and inherently pure as your fantasy self was conceived, it will now be distorted into an ugly, cowardly, twisted, hateful demon of a thing. You will be powerless to argue with the words as they acid rain down upon you. You will be unable to make their creator retract them, or soften their countenance toward you. A writer enraged is unreachable. The best you can do is find somewhere safe to hide, and pray that you can weather the storm.”
Her furrowed brow is quite adorable as she wriggles slightly on the edge of the bed, uncomfortably enthralled.
“Yet, a writer’s scorn is not the worst thing that you will suffer. Worst of it all, is being left alone, in the nuclear winter… in the sickening aftermath of a writer’s obsession with you. When all the words have dried up and the drug that you have come to crave is withheld, forever.
After everything you have been through; the wild abandon of fantasy, the warm affection of loving comfort, the dramatic ups and downs, the inevitable betrayal of the ideal you (for you will never fulfil it), and the spiteful scorn of a creative heartbroken, the next part is what will really kill you. You will suffer more in the frigid waters of abjurement than during any literary torture that came before it.
Yes, the very worst thing, is when your writer stops writing about you.”
With that, I am done, and I return my eyes to their beloved resting place on my notepad. I feel her sitting stunned in contemplative, slightly horrified silence for a moment, before opening her lovely mouth.
“You’re a writer,” she frowns, as if trying to put particularly stubborn puzzle pieces together.
“I’ve been called worse,” I murmur, wryly tapping my pen.
“Are you… going to do that to me?” She blinks exaggeratedly several times, fidgeting, all delicate little deer caught in the headlights.
“I don’t think so,” I say, wishing she’d be a good little muse and sit still for moment so I can capture this. I can see she’s not satisfied with my answer, so I add for her benefit, “No.”
She raises an eyebrow, uncertainty clouding her gorgeous face. She sighs.
“Don’t you worry about it.” I smile, reassuringly.
“… just be quiet for a moment, and let me finish off this last paragraph.”
“If you believe what you’re saying, they’ll believe you too.”
It was my first ever debate. I’d joined the debate team in high school because I believed I wanted to be a lawyer. I believed that lawyers argued a lot, and I knew that most of the other kids on the debate team also wanted to be lawyers. It was a skill that needed honing if the legal profession was where your arrow was aimed. But I had this pathological fear of speaking in front of people. I’d get nervous and I’d shake and sweat and stammer and not get the right words out properly. My debate coach was trying to shore me up with the strength of my own conviction in my points and position, to help me use passion to overcome my fears.
It worked. My voice was so loud (it had to be, to keep from quivering), so forceful, that the shaking was interpreted as anger; the sweating, as feverish passion. I believed in what I was saying, and everyone saw it, and they couldn’t help but believe it too, so taken were they by the emotional display.
Fear and passion have the same signals. How they are interpreted is up to you. When people say “fake it ‘til you make it,” this is what they mean. The previous two paragraphs are a complete fabrication. I was never on the debate team in high school. I was in law school. I was a litigator, for a time. I could probably argue you under the table. But I was never on the debate team in high school. You believed those two paragraphs because I believed them, as I was writing. If you want to persuade people, you must first persuade yourself.
The first step to writing fiction is to believe that your story is real, and then make an account of it.
Don’t romanticize fiction writers. We’re just manipulative liars who’ve studied our craft.
I want to write a story that will pull me out of reality for a while. One of those stories I can’t get out of my head all day. I’ll be eating lunch, or scribbling notes in class, or talking to blurs of people, but my mind will be bookshelves away. I want to write myself away. Put myself in characters that people will hate, and that people will love. I want to press my heart in the pages people will dog ear, or spill coffee on. I want to be the broken spine of that book. Left propped open at the best part. The book that’s savored, or devoured.
I want to write a book into a door that people can choose to open to escape.
It is rare for me to be feeling so strong with the community spirit, but sometimes it’s just necessary for me to say what I have to say because I feel it should be said. Sometimes I like to raise a point that goes against the “flock of birds” mentality that can run rampant through the writers at times, others times, it’s just to get the word out.
This is one such time.
This writing community is a strange gathering of people. All ages, all walks of life, from a lot of different countries. Rich, poor, white, black, men, women, young and old. Some of the writers here are fourteen years old, probably younger, and some are into their fifties and sixties. It’s a weird place, because you’re mixing with so many vastly different people, and you really can’t tell who’s who just by a message in your ask box, a comment on your work, or the contents of someone’s blog/subject matter/how they present themselves through this digital medium.
You’re bound to get the wrong idea about some people, and you’re bound to misrepresent yourself. I misrepresent myself here all the time behind anonymity, because it’s just makes things less complicated. I post what I write, you like it or not, and you don’t have any bias because you’ve got less context because most of you know so little about me. That’s the idea anyway.
It’s weird, because we’re writers and readers, but you don’t judge a book by how fuckable, or how ugly, or how nice, or how much of a dick the author is do you? You don’t say “wow, I really connected to that book because the author is fucking hot.” Yet, that’s the way it is here. Whether you acknowledge it or not, it doesn’t matter, it’s the truth. We’re all easily accessible, unless you disable your ask box and never give out any contact details.
It seems that there’s a lot of lonely people here, searching for something. Loneliness is a constant theme in just about everyone I follow’s work, which probably says more about me than anything else. Everyone seems lost, or stuck, or trapped, or broken, or healing. Rename this place Sgt. Pepper’s and then the TWC can be called the Lonely Heart’s Club, and it’s a place where we’ve all gathered to share ourselves, and then we somehow feel connected to all those who share things with us. Even fiction, is something that a writer has slaved, fretted, and lost sleep over. Ideas, feelings, and traumas are all here. It’s easy to get connected to people, it’s easy to attach your heart to people if your guard is down.
Especially when people talk about love and sex. I mean, there’s so much out there that’s easily accessible, it’s easy to pick up all the do’s and don’t’s of a little sexy prose piece yeah? Especially when most people’s sexual gratification comes from porn, or porn-like encounters. Porn is easy, free, streaming. Sex is fucking everywhere. Shit, Mummy-Porn has it’s own section in libraries and book stores. Tumblr writers aren’t too shabby at it, most of it is way hotter than any Fifty Shades-esque crap. It’s so easy to become sexualised here, so easy to write about love and lust and wanting, because it’s fuelled by that loneliness we’ve all come here to try to put a band aid on. There are many highly sexual people under 18 in the world right? Some of them have come here to write.
The point I’m getting at, is that it’s hard to know who’s who. Some of the younger writers here write so elegantly you’d think they were in their twenties as some kind of English or Lit major. Depending on their voice, some of the people here seem much younger than what they are. It’s easy to get confused, and it’s easy to be caught in a situation that you don’t even know you’re in, because you don’t really know the person you’re talking to.
People can hide who they are here, but they can’t in the real world. There are a lot of people here that you’re “friends” with that you just wouldn’t be in the real world. You’re in the mix with a lot of people that you just don’t get the chance to be around any other time. Different countries, different age groups… you get the idea.
To keep to the point of this message, you can’t tell if someone is a creep, or a predator, or someone who is just looking to take advantage of a few lonely people for their own pleasure. In real life, if you were a seventeen year old girl and somebody much, much older than you was trying to befriend you, you would be quite suspicious I think, and probably a little bit concerned that someone much, much older than you was trying to be so friendly with you.
But here, you can’t see people coming like you can in real life, not just because you can’t physically see them and read their body language, but because you’ve got rose coloured shades on, because this is where you come to feel vulnerable, and you’re supposed to feel safe to do so. Your heart is on your sleeve and on your blog for the world to see, and you assume that everyone else is the same way. But, some people aren’t.
So, I would like to put the word out, that any kind of predatory actions will not be tolerated.
This is a place for young writers to develop themselves, not be solicited or harassed. This is not a dating/adult website. Actually, scratch that, this is a place for ALL writers to develop and not be solicited or harassed.
So, I want to let the younger members of the community know, that there are many, many people who have your back and will support you should any one try to solicit you for erotic pictures, chats, or anything of a similar nature that makes you feel uncomfortable. You’re not alone, and you can come forward and feel safe.
We’re all here for you if you need it.
I will personally name and shame anyone, anyone, I have tangible evidence of making advances against the younger, illegal, members of this community, and remember ladies and gents, kids these days are pretty smart, and everything you do leaves a really fucking long paper trail. I don’t care what their blog is like, or how strong willed or sexual they may be, if they’re under 18 they’re children.
If you think this message may be aimed at you or your behaviour, then I suggest you quickly and quietly change those behaviours, or leave this place and don’t come back.
My view is that of a busy honey bee. The quiet scribbles of my pen, is my quiet hum in the world of sound. Each page within my writing book, each piece of paper, scraps I find for ink, are my flowers made of paper, brought to life with the color of my ink.
Oh such colors range, from black stormy clouds, blues of sky and ocean, burnt orange, lively green, to reds and pinks of love, and my favorite, deep relaxing purple. Color brings the world to life, and it is color, breathed into my paper bouquets.
A color conceives first, within darkness of my closed eyes, a color I can not yet see. It is when I let it bleed freely from the tips of my fingers; flow through spilling ink, a process of pollination with delicate scratches against a thin, bland canvas, do I see blooms of a spirit born. For now, I am merely a beginner bee, busy with practice. My garden holds wilted lovelies, in fragile states.
With the hum of my scribbling pen, I take flight, much like the devoted honey bee. One day, my blooms will be the envy of gardeners green-housed plants, safe behind glass panes. I will always allow my mind to roam with wild abandon, for only then, will the colors of my blooms be bold.
i can do anything. I can use capital
or lowercase letters. i can chop
a line in half or i can stop.
i can make it end where it is supposed to.
i can rhyme
any fucking time
i please and i can count
any kind of meter that you wanted,
inverted or unspecified by you-
but, really, it just feels a little
pointless when i’m totally using more
words than i actually need to, like it’s nothing but
a pointless boast,
a wank off into the void,
putting on airs
for empty air,
lording nothing over
people who aren’t even looking-
what i mean to say is, maybe we should all
just shut up and write what we like.
When a Writer falls in Love
I tried to be poetry.
I tried to be the personification of the mysterious mutter of your heart
The clarity in so much confusion.
I tried to be similes and metaphors and aureate language, all mixed together
To form a beauty that ripped the heart from your soul
While simultaneously healing the rips in your pericardium.
I tried to be poetry.
But, in all my efforts,
That words do not hold your heart
And you closed the book on me
You drained my pen
Why I Hate Books
Being a writer and reading a book is just like being a varsity basketball player watching an NBA game, or a clumsy medschool intern witnessing a surgery from the gallery for the first time. A part of you is just so fucking uncontainably happy to be there that you start making up words like uncontainably, that you don’t think you can keep your breath in your lungs or your heart in your chest for much longer. You’re right there, watching the thing you want to spend the rest of your life doing, and it’s indescribable. You study every move, every muscle, every inch and stitch of what’s in front of you, wishing that you’d be that great some day. And then another part of you is just thinking fuck, I can never be this good. I can never mould my words to actually move people, make them feel it in a place they didn’t even know they had. I can never do that. What the fuck is my life. So yeah, that would fall under reason number one.
Number two looks a little bit like this: An almost seventeen year old girl sitting in the farthest corner of her bed with her knees kissing her chest, and her arms hugging her knees, rocking silently like a crazy person and thinking about a person that doesn’t fucking exist. Yup, that’s about it. A person who has a name, and a face she made up with her imagination, and feelings that she is feeling for him, and words that someone else wrote. A person that doesn’t exist, but still does, and she can’t touch but can still feel. How the fuck do you deal with that? Exactly. Reason number two.
Numero three is about how a book takes you into its pages and makes you want to never come out. Like the world outside, the cars and the people with their polluted minds, and the rules and the wrongs, and the signs and the songs, and the ache and the pain and the truth and the yous- all just blink to sleep while you wake to a world that is as expansive as any mind. And it’s beautiful. And at the same time, it reminds you of everything your little slice of life is not. and turning that last page is like turning in the middle of the night to an empty bed by your side, and feeling nothing but regret. You know how sometimes you listen, taste, hear, feel, see, do something for the first time and all you want to do is memorise every moment of it because you know that no matter how many times you encounter it again, it will never be that first special time? Yeah, that. And also, the uncontrollability of things. Like you can read it again a thousand different times in a thousand different ways, but you can’t change the way it ends. You can’t change the way you feel. Everyone including you is just stuck there midst the three hundred and thirteen pages of print.
Number four is basically all the above points coming together to form a big messy pile of all your feelings on the floor. The thing is, you just can’t place it, you can’t name it. You can’t justify why your heart is beating the way it is, why your eyes are leaking and your breathing sounds like a fucking helicopter. They’re just words, you’ll tell yourself. But you’re a writer and you know that in actuality, they are worlds. Worlds and worlds of feeling, meaning, motion, people, thoughts, places, philosophies, ideas, light, love, realities, realisations, lies, time, tastes, deaths, breaths, constellations, and galaxies that are infinite. And you can’t fathom any of it, or at least you tell yourself so, because something has got to justify you staring up at your bedroom ceiling at 2AM with thoughts running through your head like toddlers you want to hit and hug at the same time. It’s frustrating shit.
And the big number five is (as its title suggests) the biggest reason of them all. You could have just skipped to this part without reading the stuff above it, and it would have still made total sense (sorry about that). But what I really hate about books, what I can’t stop detesting about books, the big number five that makes me want to kick down a tree or something as an act of metaphorical rebellion, is that books, for everything they do, refuse to let me fall out of love with them.