Words Wednesday is a column where I share whatever quote I’m most in love with this week in the hopes that it will make both of us better writers. Whether it be from a book, a movie, or a random blog that I found 2 days ago and will read loyally for the rest of time, these words rocked me emotionally and I want them to inspire you too.
I’m back this week with another words wednesday, because it’s wednesday and that’s what I do now. In a fun turn of events I have decided to expand outside of the world of books for this column, because I recently read this substack article and fell in love with each and every line and needed to share it with all of you. I created this tag/meme/column/whatever you call a weekly segment on a blog in order to share writing I loved in the hopes that it would inspire all of us to become better writers. Well, folks, Rayne Fisher-Quann, author of the Internet Princess blog, has inspired me to become a better writer.
Like I said, I just stumbled upon Rayne’s blog. This particular post, entitled standing on the shoulders of complex female characters, is all about the way we as women
distill twist ourselves into boxes that can be marketed. I crossed out distill because although my gut instinct was to use that word, I don’t think it’s what Rayne meant and it’s not what I really think either. It’s not that we are lessening who we are, it’s that we are adding little touches to trick ourselves into believing that we are just like the characters we see on tv.
Maybe I’m not making sense, and if so you should probably just go read the whole article and then come back.
The thing is that I relate to this more deeply than I have ever related to anything in my life, and just reading this single sentence has inspired half a dozen longform essays that are all swirling around in my head right at this very second, fighting for the right to be written down on paper. But Words Wednesday is not a longform column, it is a place for me to write about a quote, and so I will do my best to stay focused on what makes this sentence really work for me, rather than what makes me believe it is true.
I think it was the “ostensibly at my lowest” part that really drew me in. I find that when I am in the pit of depression, when I am laying in my bed unable to move and I have done nothing but eat and sleep and stare at the wall for days, I have a tendency to slip into my head and romanticize the whole thing. What I am doing– or, not doing– is not just okay, it’s cool, because so many other people have done it too. The famous people (mostly writers) that I look up to most in the entire world have all had depression, and they’ve all written about the way it overtook their life before they found their way through it. Maybe part of me feels like I need to let my depression overtake me so that I can be a great writer too. In the throws of my depressive episodes, I wonder if I am merely faking depression to appear more similar to my idols. And then the depressive spell wears off enough for me to do a load of laundry, and I thank the gods that I am functioning again, and I realize that I would never suffer through a bad depressive spell if I didn’t have to.
I appreciate Rayne’s focus on the lowest parts of life. Too often people talk about “main character syndrome” but they are referring to the days where you’re going for drives with friends and dancing in the rain. I have main character syndrome on the days when I am ignoring all of my friend’s texts and haven’t even opened the shades to know if there’s rain.
And obviously, you know, I relate to editorializing my experience, because I do it here for you all every week. I write a lot of posts on this blog, and Words Wednesday always seems to be the most personal, but my own life and emotions come creeping into nearly everything I post. I preserve my experiences here for you to read even in the process of writing a book review. What you don’t know is that I keep a journal (I guess you could call it a diary, but I don’t because that’s too cliché) and the whole time I’m writing in it I think about what it will be like when I die **famous** and everyone reads it. I wonder if it will go into a museum. I have disclaimers written in the front and back of every journal I write explaining things that I don’t want people to misunderstand. I though it was just me that did this.
This quote cuts so deeply because it is so accurate, but even if you don’t relate as strongly as I do, the way it is written is still powerful. There are big words, yes, but they aren’t big words for the sake of being big. Each and every word is chosen in a way that makes perfect sense, that explains the sensation in the fewest number of words possible.
This quote has somehow changed me, if only by pointing out once again that everything I think makes me unique has been done a million times and will be done a million times again.