I love it when the things I write produce an emotional response. For a writer, it’s the biggest buzz in the world when someone comes to you and says, “That short story/chapter/poem made me so sad/happy/hungry*.”
I always strive to create something that is going to play on the reader’s conscience, to make them contemplate whether the actions within the story are right or wrong. Or better yet, I love making people side with the bad guy and question what sort of a person that makes them.
Despite all my good intentions though, anger seems to be the easiest emotion to evoke in others.
Don’t get me wrong, I do get a cheap thrill out of that but it’s just so easy on the internet. A little too easy, perhaps. One of my posts, ‘Consider a Modern Wife’, has an entire page dedicated to how it – and I by proxy – is wrong, despite the fact that said post only had 32 readers at its initial upload. I was also spammed with messages from people I know on facebook following my piece concerning that most disgusting of language errors – ‘might of’. Apparently, I’m ignorant as to the history of my country and as a language student ‘should know better’.
I could take the time to explain that I spent four years of my life not only learning Danish, but also reading about the common Germanic stem that it shares with English. Or I could boast about the fact that my current favourite book is Bill Bryson’s Mother Tongue and that I spend my free time compiling a list of Doric words that come from Nordic stems. I could write lengthy paragraphs about how invasions from the Vikings and the French have perverted the original form of the language that was used when Beowulf was first scribbled down by monks, or about how the unique ‘ing’ verb form makes English a wonderfully easy language to learn the basics of for foreign speakers**.
But honestly, who gives a toss?
This is the internet: it is estimated that there are over 60 million ‘blogs worldwide and of those, only a handful achieve a readership of over 1000 per day. I write on here because I feel that doing so empties my head of clutter and helps me to be a better writer. I also like to think that my ‘blog is a good showcase for the selection of writing styles I can offer to any potential clients. I don’t for one minute believe that my work could ever be widely read in the way that Diary of a London Call Girl was.
With the exception of family and friends – who know me well enough to understand that I’m just a crotchety old woman – nobody cares about what I have to say. I’m just another one of the faceless people who sit tapping away at their laptop keyboard instead of getting on with their work. My opinions, therefore, do not matter to anyone other than myself. Just like the opinions of those who think I’m wrong don’t matter to me – the age-old internet stalemate. Because neither party involved in an argument over opinions has to face the other, and because people online are inherantly rude to each other, we end up with arguments like this:
Me: Blah blah blah – hate world – blah blah – romantic notions about how things should be – blah.
Someone else: U hv penis.
Me: Eh? What has that got to do with anything?
Someone else: U jst scared coz u wrong.
Me: Wrong in which way? I like discussions – let’s talk and share our thoughts.
Someone else: U 2 scared to talk bk. ha ha ha ha… penis.
Me: You’re a spoon.
The other problem with the internet is that sites like twitter, facebook, myspace, friendface etc. make us believe that what we say has an impact on those around us. We use the web as a way to express ourselves and without the social boundaries enforced by real life, we’re not afraid to express ourselves in overly critical, arrogant ways. We presume that because we can broadcast information about our goings on and opinions at all hours of the day, that we should. This is not the case. My rule of internet etiquette is as follows: if you wouldn’t say face-to-face what you’ve just typed, hit the backspace key instead of enter***. Afterall, you don’t want to hear about my various bodily functions so what makes you think I want to read about yours?
I think this is what I was trying to say in my entry about lamebook – we’ve all become self-obsessed and presume that the rest of the world cares about what we think and about every intimate detail of our lives. Nobody does, and so after the initial thrill of causing an angry reaction in my online reader for whatever reason, I feel slightly hollow – as if the emotion’s I’ve managed to trigger aren’t real. With so many people out there looking for yet another way to tell the world about themselves, it’s just too easy to have someone disagree.
*Hungry is an emotion. I spend 95% of my life ‘hungry’. The other 5% I spend sleeping.
**Interestingly, all objections to my statement that English is an easy language to learn came from native speakers, rather than from those who use it as a second language.
***If you’re drunk, slightly different rules apply, akin to those necessary where mobile phones are concerned. On becoming inebriated to the point where you think the following messages to your friends are a good idea, all communication devices must be handed to the designated driver or, if at home, hidden in either the sewing machine case or the vegetable drawer.
Examples of messages to friends that are a terrible idea are:
a. You’re sexy
b. I’m sexy
c. The ex you still have feelings for is sexy and I just saw them naked
d. Did your car have a bonnet when you loaned it to me?