My grandma has been telling me she wants to read a new blog post on here.
I started writing a general update, how Patrick and I have been traveling the past few weeks (as usual….) being in El Paso at the moment. Also how we spent last week in Wyoming and I saw some shit. Like, things that are seared into my brain forever. I could probably write a Stephen King-esque story based on the shit I saw.
Perhaps I shall tell that tale another day. (Or you’ll see it in the form of a paperback with a spooky font on the cover, who knows!)
Instead, due to some things I’ve seen on the internet today, I feel compelled instead to tell you why and how much I am sick of Thought Catalog and its ilk.
For those of you who, like Patrick earlier, are asking me, “WTF is Thought Catalog?”, it’s basically this: an online “magazine” that churns out a zillion shareable articles. But unlike Buzzfeed etc, it’s not as much silly lists or gif-fueled Reddit ripoffs (although those are still all over it) as it is Pin-able, Facebook-y essays written by and aimed at Millennial women. (Whew, I am using so many interwebz words I’m getting dizzy.)
As much as I can barely stand the style (and, honestly, content) of Thought Catalog and similar sites, do I still sometimes get suckered into clicking a link to it? Yes. We all waste time on the internet. (Personally I’d rather waste mine giggling at doggo memes, but that’s neither here nor there.) Okay, so there’s that disclaimer.
Also I’d like to add that, as snobby as this
rant compilation of thoughts is going to sound, I don’t fault anyone who writes for these sites. Writers gotta do what we gotta do. You get ’em, girl who wrote “Open Letter to the Best Friend I Don’t See Anymore”. I know you are probably actually a genius because you’ve figured out the voice they want and now you’ve got them tied around your little finger. You write on. We’ve gotta support each other. …Like how these sites should support writers by, like, actually paying them. Ahem.
What I’m saying is, I’m tired of these sites and their style of fake thoughtfulness. They feature essays that contain tons of line breaks, sentence fragments, and the same line repeated over and over for emphasis. They cover topics like travel and relationships with trendy prose and a brave veneer that’s supposed to inspire us as much as we’re inspired by pictures of girls doing yoga on giant rocks.
I know that some will say that’s just how it is nowadays. No one wants to really read anymore. Essays and articles nowadays have to be less than 500 words and have a title that’s a whole sentence for some reason. They have to be tagged, hashtagged, categorized, optimized, liked, shared, rehashed, recycled, and then write me another one tomorrow because this is apparently what Millennials want to read and paste all over their Facebook feed.
But I think we deserve more, and in fact, I think we desire more. Maybe some people want to read weirdly condescending advice written in second person. But I think a lot of us would like to read an essay written by a real person, an essay that is– not vaguely, but inextricably– tied to a real experience. Something that goes beyond being “relatable” and actually makes us relate to other people.
As an afterword, I’d like to add that good stuff does exist. I’ve seen it, I’ve read it, and it was contemporary. Of course, that comes with a different batch of things I greatly dislike– I’ve been to some really weird open mic nights, people. (I have seen. some. shit. As I said before.) But that’s a whole different rant.
I suppose the main thing is that these “problems” are what spur me to write. On the days when I feel like I don’t have anything to say, or that what I say isn’t worthwhile or good enough, I think of how I very, very rarely see anyone else writing about the things I mull over most. Even when I do, it’s still not quite the same way I see it. And although I doubt my writing will ever perfectly get that down, I work toward getting as close as possible.
PS: Okay, I definitely have to tell you about my weird experience in Wyoming, though.