Monday, November 29, 2010


So far my favorite blog on here is Looking Both Ways. Or more accurately its the one I think is most acceptable, the one that follows the format of a typical good essay or blog post. Its essentially a rant, but besides going off topic for a moment, I stick to the basic structure of a linear, logical argument, embellished with a few personal insults.

The problem with linear, logical arguments, though, is that they don't allow for growth and learning to come about through the process of writing. I knew the answer before I began writing that post. I knew what I wanted to do: to complain about a behavior and explain why it bothers me, blowing off steam and hopefully persuading people to agree with me in the process.

Most of my thought processes aren't as linear as all that though-- they don't stick to this typical blogging format of telling a story with a point, a lesson, or moral. I appreciate learning something new about myself or the universe though the act of writing.

All throughout school I found writing conclusions to be the most difficult part of essays. Conclusions always seem so cliche. Everyone ends chapters in nonfiction books the same way-- with a short sentence that's meant to sound profound and make the reader feel warm and cozy or inspired, but above all else to agree with the author (Barrack Obama's The Audacity of Hope is one of the most obvious examples I've ever seen of this).

In school they taught me that an essay goes like this: tell the reader what you're about to tell them (introduction), tell them it(body), and then tell them what you just told them (conclusion). This always seemed redundant to me. I had a hard time being redundant on purpose, and I am bothered by it when authors do this too obviously in books. Also known as a 'recap', I hear it in my head as a lecturing voice, automated, not authentic.

Life has taught me that any time I think I reach a conclusion, there is always something new to be learned. For example, after I wrote about the old man and the red light, I started wondering about his perspective. That got left out. I don't think I will come back to it here, but the process has continued for me. Conclusions are an illusion. They are inherently temporary. Although that ironically sounds like yet another conclusion. Ah, the eternal paradox strikes again!

So this is fair warning. I am not a linear, logical person, at least not most of the time. And I can't guarantee that I will ever come to much of a conclusion.

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