I was told today that there was a heaviness that pervades my writing. I’d like to think that’s true, it’s something that I aim for.
I was taught that everything’s relative and that each person experiences the world differently, so while there are some things which are generally accepted as true, there is no such thing as the literal truth. Even the words which we use to express ourselves are metaphors and approximations, as is our mathematics no matter how accurately they can predict the world. We look at the world through a prism that we define and when someone writes, I believe that they are presenting their world view.
Now, I’m not suggesting that people need to preach through their writing. I’ve read books that were a little too heavy-handed with their message and that takes away the joy of reading it. When you’re too staunch in your world view and you set the world out too clearly with no room for imaginings, it leaves the reader unable to modify your world in order to fit it to their worldview. The writing of a novel is a collaborative effort. Everyone understands that there are editors, agents and publishers involved aside from the writer, but I wonder if as many people think of the relationship between the writer and the reader. We write out the text, but the reader is the one who translates it and interprets it with their own imagination.
As is the case with any translation from one language to another, the reader brings their own experiences to each text and relates to it in a different way.
Because of this thought which is firmly stuck in my mind, I sometimes worry that I’m not going to be able to get my point across or that my writing will come across as insipid. To have my writing being called heavy, however, is something that I can embrace. It’s not that I ever want to say that something is hopeless, I can’t think of a story where all hope was completely stripped away. Our ability to hope is one of the greatest sources of strength as human beings (although hoping along is not enough, but that’s an entirely different argument). The heaviness is something that I deal with daily.
There is so much that goes into a human life, so much information and intricacy that we encounter each day and yet rarely stop to think about it. The internet in itself is a powerful feat of human engineering, as is the computer that you are reading this on. Our mobile phones are more powerful than computers were a mere decade or two ago and there are cars coming out now that are so advanced that you don’t really need to be able to see in order to drive them. There are cars which park themselves, cars which will maintain a certain amount of distance between yourself and the car in front of you etc. There are trains which can speed across vast stretches of land in a ridiculously small amount of time, airplanes that have broken the sound barrier and all of these things come with their own kind of weight. There is so much that humanity can do to propel themselves beyond any limitations (real or imagined) and one of the most important things that we are able to do in my opinion is our ability to escape the present through our imaginations.
Our self-awareness gives this weight to our lives which cannot be ignored and while there are many different kinds of weights beyond the awe-inspiring leaps of technology that I’ve focused on here, they’re no less important. Emotions, beliefs, knowledge, instinct. All of these things project their own kinds of weights which have been examined by psychologists and sociologists for centuries now. I’m not trying to explain what they are or how they work.
As long as people can recognize the weight of what I write, I’m not worried in the least.
Got any book recommendations?