Doug Bruns

That Ontologically-Loaded Word: Self

In Writing on August 15, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I was at a party recently and a very kind woman who had read some of my recent work said that my writing was “fluid.” She was effusive and extremely complementary, but it was the word fluid that really stuck in my mind. It is a word I seek to emulate and is important because to me my writing seems so often jagged and pock-marked. Fluid is good, jagged is bad. But here’s the real thing: the only theme I seem to be able to sustain in my writing is–and there’s no way to be self-effacing about this–the only thing I can write about is: me. How terrible is it to admit that, after all the searching prose and investigated subjects, all I write about is me? It sounds bad, is immodest and singular, but it is evidently and unquestionably true.
Hence, the reason I was so pleased at the fluid remark. (Thank god for italics. Is there some technical validity to my aversion to quotation marks, or is it an over-reaction to my complete and violent disdain for “air quotes” in prose? There, I did it, now I don’t have to do it again–form following function, indeed.) As I was saying, fluid is good because, my writing is, admittedly, my effort to explore the jagged terrain of my–of my what? My personality, my soul, my being? God, what a web I am weaving!–of my self. And I think of my self, avoiding the philosophical qualifications of that ontologically-loaded word, as being anything but fluid. To the contrary, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only reason I write is to better understand my world as it relates to the jagged subject at hand: me.  All that, and it is therapeutic too, this process. I’ve never been in therapy, but I’ve seen In Treatment and read a little of Freud and imagine it so. That’s good enough for me.

  1. What is wrong with writing about yourself? It is probably the one thing you know best about and yet, there are still mysteries in us all. And fluid is a good word to use.

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: