Writing, if not helpful, contains beauty.
It is a not a universal beauty, leaving all to drop their jaws in wonder. Writing — not all of it, anyway — is not the masterful work of a Renaissance painter or the perfect face of a super model or a color-soaked Caribbean sunset. Everyone recognizes that kind of beauty.
No, the work of any author is a more subjective beauty. Not everyone sees it as such. Writing — ubiquitous and amateurish online, this corner of the internet included — strikes some as powerful and gorgeous while others shrug and numbly navigate to a different page.
Like a public statue that is scurried past and ignored by distracted pedestrians and only appreciated by the few who stop to gaze upon it and ask the right questions, writing possesses a more utilitarian beauty which fascinates some and is shrugged off by others. It is those with whom it resonates who find it the most powerful.
So why write?
There are those who write for popular acceptance. They sell their stories and opinions to the public. They are professional, polished, and published. People pay them to write. They may or may not be good writers. They may or may not even be doing the writing. In many cases their name sells the books that an unknown ghost composes on their behalf. It makes no matter. We all read these people. We like them. It is good.
There are those who write for critical acceptance. These are the folks who are reading my words, sentences and paragraphs right now and cringing as they stumble upon what is most definitely improper grammar, poor sentence structure, and an unhealthy fascination with commas. We read these authors slowly if we read them at all. Like a movie that is nominated for an Oscar but nearly no one actually sees, these authors are artists in the purest sense. We are better for having them, even if we don’t recognize that fact until long after they are dead.
Then there are those who simply write. They aren’t known enough to be popular and not good enough to garner critical acclaim. I fall into this category, as do many other bloggers. We snatched up our URLs for a brush and our rudimentary canvas is named WordPress. If we’re artists at all we are artists in secret. All we really want to do is write and think and propose and discuss and we share our weekly links not because we’re particularly good or widely accepted but because we actually believe if we construct our statue in the park someone might stumble upon it, pause, and somehow be changed. Then, and only then, will our secret leak out. If not, we’ll continue to sculpt in relative secret.
For every blogger who routinely snags less than a couple hundred page views per post — perhaps accidentally reaching a wider audience when they compose something juicier or more controversial — there is a beauty that comes not from the observing but the constructing. There is a way of seeing the world and needing to think out loud about it for 800 words or so that is just baked into some folks. It’s like people who are obsessed with CrossFit, only instead of a gym we sit at keyboards. Often, the rigor is equivalent.
Writing, if not helpful, contains beauty. If not for the reader, most certainly for the author. Bloggers, though not always technically sound or popularly accepted or critically acclaimed, are authors just the same. They construct statues and place them in a crowded jungle of other amateur statues to be pondered by a few but discarded by most. They build nonetheless.
For them, there is an act of worship or healing or creativity or something else or all of those that is captured within the process of building. For them…for me…this is beauty enough.