Clockwork Philosophy

A Crisis of (Creative) Faith

What do you do when can’t write? Write about it of course!

My dear and long suffering reader, recently I’ve been experiencing something akin to a “crisis of faith.”

As you may or may not have noticed, the world-wide-inter-web-net of late has been largely lacking in my singular form of linguistic legerdemain. While I’ve wanted to write prodigiously, I’ve been experiencing a real sense of “stuckness” when it comes to getting the ideas to flow.

It’s certainly not fear that stays my hand. Any trepidation to inflict my verba enim on an otherwise innocent and unsuspecting public has long since been disregarded. I honestly believe that the cause of this impasse is the belief that my efforts will bring no value to those unlucky enough to have been intellectually assaulted by my senseless scribbles.

As I said, a crisis of faith.

You see kids, for me, “value” is far more than a buzzword adored by the marketing intelligentsia, Saint Don of Draper and Our Lady of Perpetual Brand Awareness. It’s the reason I do what I do.

The interwebz are replete with exemplars of vacuous drivel, pseudo-intellectual rubbish, long on loquaciousness but short on substance.

Note: It’s not lost on me that some may believe that my work falls into just such a category. Just so. I defer to your worldly judgement on such matters while simultaneously remaining hopeful that such a reality be false. One can dream.

I’ve always attempted to infuse as much value as I possibly can into my work. My language may seem odd, esoteric and even frustratingly impenetrable at times, but I assure you that my point is not to confuse or to annoy. The effusiveness of my language comes from a deep love and – if I may employ a horribly overused term – passion for words.

Language is like a tapestry, and I consider it a crime to not avail oneself of every thread in that tapestry. It may ask a little more of the reader, but perhaps that’s not a bad thing. For too long we’ve been fed a diet of vacuous, dumbed down phraseology and irrelevant logorrhea.

To better illustrate my point, allow me to quote from an past essay of mine:

“And therein lies the difference, my dear and long suffering reader, between the way I write and the empty and roundabout twaddle we’re forced to endure on a daily basis: My words, while occasionally obscure, actually mean something. Quite often the vacuous effluvia spewed by politicians or corporate drones is designed to distract or deceive the audience. It’s most often used to make the speaker appear more intelligent, or to “answer” a question without actually answering it.

In my case, some may believe that I use words such as “effluvia” to impress my readers, but I assure you that is not the case. As I’ve already stated, I love words and I believe we do ourselves disservice when we limit our usage to such a small subset, the venerable Strunk and White be damned.

As a marketing copywriter, I often struggle with keeping things “simple” in the interests of efficiency. Indeed, the advertising industry relies on something called the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level to ensure that the language being used is accessible to the largest audience possible. Ideally, the reading level of most marketing materials should score between 80-90 on the measurement scale, which corresponds to a Grade 6 reading level. The lower the score, the more difficult a piece of writing is to read.

In case you’re wondering – and being creatures of curiosity and perspicacity you most assuredly are – this essay scored 51.3 on the Flesch-Kincaid scale, or the equivalent of a Grade 11 reading level.

I’d like to think that readers like yourself, when encountering an unusual word, will be inspired to look it up and thereby educate yourselves, as I often do. I believe that people are much more intelligent than they are given credit for, and that much of the problem with people not wanting to read online is in fact a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Good lord on a tin bicycle I must have been in quite a mood when I wrote that. Well, sententious and preposterously self-important as it may be, the point stands.

What was my point? I’ve strayed somewhat from the gravimen of my text it seems. Ah well, one doesn’t necessarily need a destination to enjoy a journey and all that. However, your time is valuable and I’ve used up enough of it. Let us return to our purpose.

In much the same way that I once wrote an 800-word essay on the reasons I was unable to write an 800-word essay, this lovely ramble through the wilderness of language is a way to try and break through the self-imposed creative block that had resulted in my “crisis of faith.”

Self-imposed? Oh yes dear reader, invariably such barriers are inflicted by one’s own beliefs, not by outside forces. We look outside ourselves for validation and praise to try and bolster our spirits, when in reality the solution can only be found within.

This essay is my way of trying to push past my creative block, of exposing my concerns about providing value to the harsh light of day and allowing it to wither away. Limiting beliefs thrive in the dark after all.

Crisis averted? One can dream dear reader. One can dream.

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