One of the best Italian pop songs was sung by one of their most popular singers, Mina, and it was called “Parole Parole”. I guess literal translation would go as “Words, Words”. Not really knowing the language, you can try to interpret what is being said (with words and music), but it transpires that whatever you say sometimes, it is — just words.
Sure, I might be wrong, but the point is, actually the question comes up, is there such a thing as ‘just words’? Something every writer should ask himself as he commits his thoughts to paper, word processor, whatever. Well, yes and no.
Empty talk, empty words can be exactly that if they, first of all, don’t make any sense to the writer himself. In that case, they will not make any sense to anybody who hears or reads them. Disconnected, disjointed, senseless, they just make lines that only impersonate meaningful thoughts.
Still, on many occasions, they represent a state of mind, but in those cases, no matter how disconnected, disjointed they are, they present a state of mind and committed to some sort of posterity can paint a picture, and possibly a way out of that disconnected, disjointed state of mind.
Are the words worthy to be committed in that case? I’d say yes. First of all, to the writer himself. They can surely give him clues how to make sense out of it all, but then, what about the reader that tramples upon such ‘jumble’?
Maybe the reader will see some personal sense in all that, but he can also play the role of an editor, even if he really isn’t one and point the writer in the direction of clues that will make sense out of his words. The only question that remains is — will he bother. The writer certainly should.
Sorry, but there was a glitch in the system! How many times have you heard that! ‘The system’. Anything that is presented as an impersonal entity that the human entity on the side of that system could not do anything about, and it certainly wasn’t your fault. But then, how could the person on the side of the system, a person with a name and certainly with some sort of personality be guilty. “It was the system.” Even when you look at the songs that bear the title of impersonal’ or “Impersonal World” are usually unknown quantities.
When writers encounter such situations, the first name that probably comes to mind is Kafka. A person against the system, or more precise, vice versa. But then come the questions — who created the system; who is operating it? And about two thousand and one questions that go along. A person or persons, of course. A system is usually just an excuse so that aggrieved party is actually the one that certainly bears the brunt of somebody’ else’s mistake.
Because there is always somebody else. No matter how impersonal it is made to be it has some sort of personality, and that includes the currently developed and debated artificial intelligence. Writers should always give that impersonal entity some sort of personality because no matter how much somebody else tries to hide behind a Chinese wall of impersonality, there’s always a person in a world that is being set up by humans for humans. In the end, it turns out that writing about ‘a system’ is still writing about ourselves.
Will there be mistakes in that writing than makes impersonal personal? Certainly. Because no matter how times it was repeated and how trite it sounds, we all make mistakes. ‘The system ‘ obviously does.
Retro style has another round at the computer world and certainly, quite a few writers are taking noice. Reporting on a new addition to that world, a typewriter-style keyboard that even reproduces the clatter of the now seemingly obsolete device, “Wall Street Journal’ says in its subtitle that it will make you “feel like a high-tech Hemingway.”
[A Computer Keyboard That Reminds Us How Typing Should Feel — WSJ](https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-computer-keyboard-that-reminds-us-how-typing-should-feel-1522768128?redirect=amp)
Since all the typewriters I ever owned were long gone, to remind myself instantly of that clatter, I put on “The Blue Notebooks,” one of the best Max Richter albums, where qt one point the typewriter sounds could be heard.
While the typewriters might be gone, my hard pressing the keyboard buttons is still around from all those years behind the ‘original stuff, and this nostalgic trip brought along a few questions — does ‘nostalgic’ typing bring along ‘nostalgic’ writing? Do younger writers even know what it is like sitting behind a typewriter, or even what Hemingway writing style is like and do they want to feel like a high-tech Hemingway after all?
For those writers that still remember both the typewriters or Hemingway (or Hemingway’s writing, at least), writing on those clattering machines used to be like a ritual — the moment you sit down in front of a blank piece of paper with coffee and already typed pages scattered around, the ideas would start flowing, or at least the whole setting would be some form of conduit that would bring ideas no matter what. At some point anyway.
It all brought along a certain style of writing. Like Hemingway, among the multitude of great writers. There was no flash fiction (or at least it wasn’t called that anyway), or if we have Hemingway’s news reporting career, no fake news, or at least there weren’t supposed to be any.
Still, would an old style clattering typewriter lookalike keyboard bring back such writing or, after all, should it? All this is open to discussion. What I do know personally is that I intend to get my hands on one of those, it brings back memories, both good and bad. And memories do come up with some good writing.
“Shall I tell you about my life
They say I’m a man of the world”
So sang Peter Green when he was leading Fleetwood Mac back in the late Sixties. As writers, we usually tell about our life as it was or as it is, as events unfold the way we feel and see them. It is all our projections. Sure, this is no way a revealing or an unknown concept.
Usually, when we project the possible events or developments in our writing they call it science fiction. With the accent usually on science. It is mostly based on conjecture, and it can be more (often) or less (even more often) be based on science. Somebody recently wrote on Medium what (and if) science starts to imitate that kind of fiction.
But then, here’s another question — what if, and possibly when, our life, or the life of others, these immediate lives of ours, start imitating the fiction we write? It can, and certainly does happen. Just have in mind that Oscar Wilde quote: “Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.” Maybe just an opinion, but in these times, particularly political times, it has become a daily task to compare yesteryear’s fictional writings with the events that are evolving. Here’s an example from a few years back to which “New York Times” devoted a story:
With Conspiracy-Minded Intrigue, Life Imitates Fiction in Turkey
Hoping to slow the leaks and regain the upper hand, Mr. Erdogan's government has taken a series of authoritarian…www.nytimes.comWe can always ascribe such writings to clairvoyance and premonitions. It doesn’t really matter whether you believe in those or not. But with writing it is, always a matter of our personal projections, thoughts, feelings, moods… In many ways, it is connected with our, fifth, sixth or seventh sense.
But what happens when our written words have such an impact that they influence ours and actions of others. It is certain that finding ample examples of such ‘life imitates fiction” situations.
One thing though is certain. It is always an approximation, it can be quite close, but certainly an approximation, nonetheless. Things sometimes do turn out the way we wrote about them, always just to prove the rule. Even more, a reason to sing (and write) to sing your version of Peter Green’s lyrics.
To learn more about me, please check my LinkedIn page at www.linkedin.com/profile/preview?locale=en_US&trk=prof-0-sb-preview-primary-button.