“Bad writing does nothing, changes nothing, educates no emotions, rewires no inner circuitry – we close its covers with the same metaphysical confidence in the universality of our own interface as we did when we opened it. But great writing – great writing forces you to submit to its vision. You spend the morning reading Chekhov and in the afternoon, walking through your neighbourhood, the world has turned Chekhovian; the waitress in the cafe offers a non- sequitur, a dog dances in the street.” —Zadie Smith, “Fail Better”
My boss tells me to fail better all the time at work, which I find obnoxious, but he’s referring more to a general lifestyle–I may or may not be a perfectionist. But then again, who really likes to fail? People don’t generally fall down a whole lot on purpose. In fact, I did that a couple days ago on rollerblades with a dog I was petsitting pulling me, and I don’t recommend it. Road rash is not the best way to get rid of those love handles. That’s a tip you can write down.
Anyway, I loved the quote [and I basically love Zadie] because this is exactly why I like to read. It stretches you, makes you see things through others’ points of view. Blogs do it in a great way. It’s hard to put yourself out there and –gulp– risk sounding like an idiot and failing, as it were, to represent exactly who you feel you are, but in my opinion, it’s one of those good growing processes, like leaving home or traveling by yourself [notice these are both solitary activities], that aren’t necessarily always fun but are, in some sense, necessary.
I don’t really expect people to *get* me anyway, but I write so that one more point of view might get out there, and maybe somebody, some day, might look at someone or something a little differently. The more we understand the people around us, the better–in my opinion–the world will be.