Self-referentiality. While one can hardly avoid it when writing a blog about one’s thoughts, I usually try to avoid writing about writing. And unless it’s a self-help article on writing, I don’t like to read writers writing about being a writer.
Now don’t be alarmed, writers. I also don’t like rock songs that go on about being rock stars. Rest assured though that one song or article does not incline me to dislike an artist.
Having said that I am going to be self-referential to my own writing in direct contradiction to my own rules, which is perhaps the subliminal reasoning for inserting the caveat in the previous paragraph. This is also in line with my passion for not following rules, even my own.
I was Stumbling through the Internet the other day and came across a writing style analyzer. The claim of the analyzer was that it would analyze a sample of your writing and tell you which established author you write like.
The analyzer claimed to use sentence constructions and vocabulary and such to make the comparison. I laughed when I saw it and so thought I would play along. I grabbed a recent blog entry and pasted into the analyzer. Now I don’t know that there is any validity to the method or even any real science to the method. I am sure there could be. Not sure that it matters.
So badda bing badda boom. I pushed analyze.
And my writing soul mate is: David Foster Wallace.
Another snorted laugh. You see David Foster Wallace (recently deceased) was most famous for his novel “Infinite Jest.” He was also a noted writer of shorter fiction and writing professor of some repute. Very highly regarded by the literary community.
The funny part is this: I hate “Infinite Jest.”
Now maybe hate is too strong a word so let’s say I am extremely not impressed by it. The book had a lot going for it before I read it. It was highly acclaimed and many people had recommended the book to me. I even tried to like it through three readings. I think it was only the second book I have ever thrown across a room. I could go on for days about it but that’s not the point here.
What is the point here? I suppose I am trying to learn something here. I remember in high school my English teacher indicated I wrote like Margaret Mitchell. I had no idea what to do with that having never read “Gone with the Wind,” but I am sure it was meant as an encouragement.
Now some Internet writing analyzer has compared my writing to one of the few books I have ever really disliked.
What? Have I become what I hated? Have I become my worst nightmare? There are serious psychological forces at play here. This could force me to question everything about myself and about my writing. It’s like asking the Oracle to show you your future and then really regretting it.
One things appears certain though: the Infinite Jest is clearly on me.