Bookmark #581

All prose is conversation. All writing is an intimate exchange between two people—the writer and the reader. All prose should read like a close friend struggling to say what they want to say as they sit beside you and try, stuttering a bit and pausing in the most unexpected places.

I have read books which are too clean, and each sentence looks perfect and pristine. It all disgusts me. The real world is not made of flawless sentences, clear grammar rules and correct punctuation. Sure, some order is present to it all, lest life would not be life, but there is a sort of messiness to real life the purists fail to catch. There are films you watch with awe and envy, and there are films you watch and remember simply because they feel like they could happen to you. When a sentence pauses in a place where the pause does nothing but add honesty, you realise you, too, would have said it like that, even if it is a pause too many. Most people talk in broken sentences and half-said phrases, and they move from one thought to another; we grow up, sure, but how we talk suggests that we were distracted children once. No matter how much we grow up, this does not change, and writing—prose—must capture this uncommon detail.

All narration should feel like you’re sitting at a cafe, with the aroma of freshly baked pastry and bread wafting and your friend talking about work. Until, before any of you notice, they are telling you how time feels as if it has slipped out of their hands and that they do not know what to do with themselves anymore. It is how all prose should feel—swift, sudden, and simultaneously soft. It is how I wish to write, and it is how I always strive to write. I write for one person sitting beside me, or across from me. To write for an audience is a sin. The audience, if there ever is one, is still a bunch of different people waiting for you to help them say things they could never say.

All waiting for the abrupt pause, for the silence before you take a sip of your coffee. All waiting to say, I know how you feel, I have felt that way too often, and I, too, did not know where to go.

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