Obligation to Authenticity

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Today I was in the process of polishing up a political piece that I was writing about everything and nothing. I wasn’t happy about what I’d written. The whole article had become a chore and it had drained the creativity from me like I was taking large doses of Benadryl chased down with Chamomile Tea. I thought that I’d done the research properly and I thought that each part of the piece was something that I was passionate about. It was as if I was forcing myself to place an importance (that I could almost grasp) onto my writing in such a way that I’d be happy with the final outcome.

I remained unsatisfied until I decided that it was best to scrap the entire thing. Hours were put into this work that would never see the light of day, but ridding myself of its weight felt better than letting out what wasn’t me, what wasn’t there.

I don’t want to write if I don’t have that Aha! moment. I’m not saying that I won’t write unless I’m happy – some of the greatest works were written in states of anxiety and depression going back to the time of King David’s Psalms. It just has to mean something, it has to be authentic and not a contrived process of putting together other men’s ideas into my own work. The political piece that I was writing had turned into a conglomerate of things that others had already said in thousands of other articles scattered about the world. I was taking these ideas (most of which had already been teased out to their limits) and repeating them in some monotonous game of political warfare that doesn’t even exist. I couldn’t bring myself to finish what I had started. I’d been there, done that – and in the end it had gotten me nowhere.

I don’t know if it’s possible to write anything that’s never been explored, but to be true to your uniqueness is certainly something that can never been explored by anyone but yourself. All forms of writing can be both authentic and contrived depending on the writer. I’ve found that my place in this game isn’t to continue down the path of a political pundit or to talk of breaking news that’s currently subjecting the world to its fair share of torment, unless that path leads to something real.

I will die one day, as every man does. Anything that I leave behind will contain an essence of the man who was. Essence will be far more important, in the end, than any controversial debating on subjects I’ve spent too much time on, yet still have little knowledge of. I will leave these tasks to those who are paid to do so, because even the best of these pundits find little joy in their work. They find no clarity. They gain little or no astuteness regarding the human condition. Their only asset is to provide us with links that act as rebuttals to other links that we don’t agree with.

If the Romans or Egyptians had the internet during their reigns, we would be bored silly reading the exaggerated prose in regard to the politics of their day, but we feel as if some future generation will care about what a politician said regarding climate change in 1997. I’ve decided not to play that game unless I have something new to add. I’m opting out on becoming another cog in the machine.

 

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