Caption This

In my first post about Online Writing, I addressed why I do the things I do. (Tldr: I’m an idiot.)

Now I want to talk about when and how.

I was once a regular internet user, just like you. I would quote cringey song lyrics, use cringey language, say cringey things about my cringey feelings, leave cringey comments, post cringey photos. A lot of us millennials have aged horribly via the world wide web (which is what we millenials once called the social, viral cesspool it has now evolved into); I would actually pride myself in how particularly bad I presented myself, if I wasn’t buried under gigs of shame and regret.

Being young and drunk on the internet taught me lessons that literally no other generation of humans have ever had to learn.

My digital scars are aplenty.

There was something about the captions people leave under their photos that would feel empty to me; an unfulfilled potential for actual exploration, which is kind of how I felt about myself.

Fast forward to me in a hospital bed.

I knew I had to change, and not the slow, gradual, luxurious kind.

I wanted to be honest with the handful of people left who still cared about me.

And so I wrote a post about what I was dealing with, in the rawest possible terms, accompanied by this photo of me at the end of one journey, and beginning of a new one. I had a problem and, in a twist on the leap of faith, I wanted to solve it with you.

Do you know how many short, clever, trendy, sweet, hilarious photo captions I have read in my life?

Literally, a million.

Do you know how many I can remember?

Exactly none.

And I wanted to use that format — the space where we usually place a tiny, impersonal caption — to tell long-(or longer-)form, intimate stories.

And that’s how the essays were born.

They vary in topic and quality, sometimes wildly, like a horse learning how to run. They do a lot for me, and some of them are among my most meaningful writing.

So meaningful, in fact, that there came a time when I got so many questions about whether I could do anything else with those essays that I finally decided I could.

That resulted in a book, called Time is a Solid State — and we’ll talk all about that next time.

P.S. If you’re coming here to tell me I’m still cringe, you’re not wrong, and I have no evidence to the contrary. I can suck the poison from the most toxic parts of my being, but I can’t change the fact that I’m still a millenial.


Published by dennisvogen

I'm me, of course. Or am I?

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