It seems dumb to say this here of all places, but I'm getting increasingly distrustful of the written word. Once I arrogantly believed that words really could describe anything, and if words failed you then that was a skill issue. One reason my opinion has reversed is that I don't trust the voice of my writing anymore. It hasn't changed in most of my life. It represents a thought process rife with brooding rumination, the incorrect biases I was indoctrinated with by parents and teachers and adults and peers, and some kind of background radiation from everything I've ever read in my whole life. Read any article, anywhere. If they don't sound the same, then they deviate from a "norm" by some nearly quantifiable amount.

(I've been wary too of how the most innocuous words can erase or normalize ideas and people. It makes me avoid a lot of writing that I'm unsure about, because I hate reading halfway through some long article before realizing it has a fascist agenda. It's just the worst. Isn't it funny how fucking normal that is, that we might as well shake it off when it happens as a minor inconvenience like getting cut off in traffic or forgetting where your keys were? Then again, "minor inconvenience" is a loaded term. You could get cut off in traffic and land in a fatal crash. You could forget where your keys are more and more as the first sign of dementia. It seems worth trivializing again, though, for the sake of levity. Insert a joke here of your choosing.)

The voice in my head (when I write or brood, not one of the real ones) is partly a collage of all of those written voices, and I realize this is part of what they might mean when they say "language is a virus": both the way that everyone else's usage of it infects you, and the way you struggle to express thoughts in non-verbal ways. Writing has felt more and more like translation lately. I have a feeling, or a memory, or a memory of a feeling, and I need to somehow describe it to someone else without the benefit of telepathy. I get a vague memory of a dream I had months or years ago, a place I was, the rough plot, the way it felt in my mind. I remember walking around my old neighborhood over and over, and it feels the same as a dream now. In the bathroom, I think about where I left something, and I picture my old bedroom, which is 9 years and 700 miles away. (My old memories are vivid, my new ones don't form, and even old half-forgotten dreams seem more real than my daily life.)

Currently, I write mostly to share it with my therapist, and after giving her thousands of words, she'll ask me what feel like really obvious questions that should've been answered well enough already. More and more, I've thought about when I used to make songs for FAWM and 50/90. I had clear ideas in my head of what I was writing about and singing about, but people always had their own interpretations. I'm not against that. The death of the author is an important idea. But the experience of making art and seeing people interpret it in their own unique ways helps you to reflect on how you interpret the works of others. I've been so sure so many times that I knew exactly what something meant, and often I was proven wrong later. I wonder if that's happening with my therapist over and over. I can't do much to help it. When we talk, we kind of just stare each other down and make small talk until she remembers not to ask "how are you feeling today" and instead get to the point.

Painting doesn't go much better. It can for some people, for sure, when they've been doing it for long enough. In fact, I've considered if poetry would help. Sometimes I write about myself in the third person as a semi-fictional character. The separation helps a lot. In every case, I think the problem to be overcome is literalism. It's the false belief that objective writing is possible, and that writing can represent reality perfectly in some way, and capture everything there is to be captured. I might have truly believed that at some point, but in my defense, it's kind of beaten into your head as a child. (They want you to believe that when you read something from an authority, there's no agenda and you should shut up and learn. Some people believed that lesson so hard that now when biology and history and other subjects try to improve, they call bullshit because it isn't what they were taught. They think the agenda they agree with is neutral, and that the "new" one isn't.)

I believed, even when people told me differently, that I could remember things exactly as they happened. I watched this beautiful video, Queer Relativity by Aranock, and I realized that I don't remember the details of how my body felt, the temperature in a room or even usually the weather, or much of anything beyond the superficiality of what happened and maybe how I reacted. I never even thought to remember things in that kind of detail, because I wouldn't generally include that in writing. If I ever did, I was quickly taught that it was extraneous information and that I should've gotten to the point. Then again, my brain loves extraneous information. I guess that's self-evident from how I've already digressed, but then, that digression is part of the experience of my thought. I'm not whole without it, and anything I would say isn't genuine if it's somehow removed. Though, that might be my fancy artistic manifesto way of working around the fact that I don't have a choice. I can attempt to organize thoughts, wrangle them under headers and into paragraphs, but it's like squeezing a complicated graph into a straight line. I mean, technically you totally can, but it's even less human-readable, even if it is an effective implementation.

I often feel like I've put too many points into the wrong skill tree. I can paint decently. I mean, digitally, though I guess acrylics aren't that hard. (With watercolors, I probably don't let the medium do what it should enough. Though, pro-tip: you can clean up lines with white ink.) I've admired and pursued ability in literal representation of subjects, and art that's more grounded in reality. That was maybe a mistake. Then again, sometimes both is good, both the ability to draw realistic characters and places, and dreams. My entire life has been consumed by explanation, problem-solving, examination. I believed things were simple enough that that wasn't utter folly, but I admit I was wrong. To make it more concrete, consider how you'd describe a painting to someone. Or a song, or a poem, or a person. You can, sure, but do you ever make it past the superficial and banal? Imagine recording your entire consciousness for someone else to experience. Not just some details of what happened in your life, what you thought and felt and believed, but your entire consciousness, recorded in such perfect detail that someone could become you for any length of time, thinking your thoughts, believing your beliefs, loving your loves, hating your hates. I wrote reviews of music because I loved that music. I noticed that when I search for FAWM and the artists I connected with, I find my own article, and so maybe I'm doing my part to lend a little more immortality to something I love. I can't describe the feeling of a kick-ass riff moving me, or the connection I had to the vocals. (They reminded me of so many songs I used to enjoy for years, and they tied that past tighter to the person I am today. Huh, maybe that's sufficient.) You recommend music and kind of describe it in the hopes that someone will listen to it and maybe get it, but they'll probably never get it in exactly the same way as you do.

I attached this draft to a cool nodeshell, but I have no idea what the original intent of it was. It could be that someone was building an amazing avant-garde structure, some beautiful house of glass and steel and wood twisted into dreamlike shapes, and they left this gap because they were looking for the perfect centerpiece. Maybe polished gold? Maybe a mural? Maybe something rare and delicate? I saw the gap and figured I had just the thing, and I slapped in a piece of gray drywall and felt so proud of myself. But I feel that way about everything, and it can only be true at most 90% of the time. Besides, if the title is words fail utterly, why would you expect to describe that concept perfectly with words? I've illustrated the inadequacy of words with my own messy writing so perfectly that no one could disagree.

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