I had a journal send me a friend request on Facebook the other day. I always find it odd when journals send friend requests. Why do they do that? Are they really interested in what my kids said over the weekend, or that I'm having an anxiety attack over the state of the car, or that my spirit animal is a cow?
I'd understand sending an invite to like their page. But friend requests are so reciprocal, I look into their 'life' and they look into my life. Strange for a journal, don't you think?
Anyway, I accepted the friend request (more because it was funny to me than anything else), and then I felt 'watched' (though, I'm sure they probably unfollowed me immediately, it was more a what if they actually read my page? sort of thing). What if they were actually checking me out to see if my writing was good enough, hip enough (does anyone use 'hip' anymore?), edgy enough?
A lot of journals these days publish edgy, gritty, raw fiction. Fiction about people hurting, or having profound moments of insight, or hurting... I don't write like that at all. My favourite approach to writing is much more pedestrian, and while I may occasionally write about people who might be hurting, they aren't usually tearing themselves apart with the pain of living. When I do write more gritty pieces I tend towards having a strong sense of irony about it, perhaps even impostor syndrome to some degree. Generally, attempting to write gritty or raw pieces leaves me feeling dirty and depressed. I much prefer to approach pain in a philosophical, slightly detached sort of way - the way fairytales do it.
I soon found myself making a status update about my lack of edge. You know, just putting it out there in case the faceless journal-person-friend decided to check me out. I wanted to say, 'Nothing to see here. No edges, just middle. Pretty mediocre, really. Please lower your expectations, so you don't knock your head on the low hanging branch there called disappointment.'
This lack of edge goes hand in hand with my lack of ambition and aversion to competition. I just want to write. I don't really have a need to be published. I see other people get excited about the books they've published, or are about to get published and I think, well that's nice, good for you. I have no sense of urgency to join them. I just like to write. I love to tell stories. I like to entertain. I'm not driven to push the boundaries, or get people questioning their existence, or reliving their trauma. I just like to write and tell stories. Like the sun on a foggy day, I'm all middle, and I'm good with that.
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