Writing online can sometimes be about tempering your voice, or creating an entirely different one. Responses to posts are so immediate that it’s impossible to not feel that your content has to be geared towards some sort of audience.
I’ve noticed that when I (and others) write grief-based posts there’s a near immediate drop in followers. It’s hard stuff to read, I understand. And a drop in followers is enough to make people forcibly change the voice of their content, or to stop posting entirely.
The internet loves quick humor, a sense of the ironic, and visuals. Good god do people love visuals. The internet likes Wildean wit, and at times a bit of well placed avarice. Yes, avarice. The internet doesn’t always love reading about how long a dark period can last. The internet breeds the smallish fear of becoming Debbie Downer, and that changes us.
But it’s got to be written, you know? I try to post nearly every day because if I don’t, I’ll stop writing. Not just stop writing here, but in general, the whole shebang. No posting here means no more short stories, no novels. A writer’s brain is a machine that won’t start after periods of disuse. Posting here holds me accountable that I did at least a little something, and it makes me think in sentences instead of coffee cups. To manufacture snark and a false voice in a post does that machine no favors. It brings us farther away from a place of honest thought, which ironically, makes good fiction that much harder to write.
Non-writer brains also work that way. If you don’t talk it out, art it out, write it out, or express it in some way, your brain starts to gum up. You just don’t think or feel as well as you could.
Readers also must understand the sacred formula: tragedy + time = comedy.
As it plays out in my life: recently over dinner with friends I told the story of scattering my dad’s ashes. How they got stuck in the urn because of the humidity, how we had to dig and scrape him out with a stick, and finally wound up unceremoniously taking a bath in Dad. Knowing my father, it was the most hilarious and fitting thing that could have ever happened. My friends were laughing their faces off, I was too. Even at the time we realized the humor of it. Yes, it came out of something awful—but it will remain one of the funniest, strangest moments of my life. It also made me realize that that moment with Donnie in The Big Lebowski must have actually happened to someone.
So, you know. The internet doesn’t always get process. Or why grief has to be written. Or that when it skips out on the heavy stuff it misses out on so much good. It has to do with immediacy. It has to do with time.
But, you know, I understand if people are only here for the snark, the jokes, the coffee, and whatnot. Even if I’m not.