February 9th, 2023
There is no point to writing on the internet.
What does it really matter?
What does it accomplish?
Does anybody actually need it?
Because I love doing things that nobody asked me to do, I write on the internet. I started taking it seriously in 2017, or as serious as I can take myself and my own writing.
Through the years, it’s done a lot of things. It has pissed people off. It has inspired people. It has inspired people to get really pissed off.
My words have tried to be helpful, have been occasionally hurtful, and have tried to excavate pain; they’ve been used to express love and loss and grief, to explain addiction and madness and sadness; they have explored the grand themes of the universe, the cosmic truths and the complex grays, and the intimate molecules, the fragile stardust, that make up you and me.
I write a lot of shit, I guess.
And over time, those words opened up a line of communication between you and I. Thousands of reactions and comments and messages, all engaged with the post of the day; sometimes enraged, sometimes enchanted, but always engaged, in one way or several.
I’ve been publishing fiction for ten years, but a nonfiction question became common to me. It was a variation of:
“I don’t really read fiction, but I love the stuff you do on the internet. Could you make something with that?”
For a time, I didn’t think I could. But when I really thought about it: books collect essays all the time, and people regularly publish their diaries and journals.
I thought, “Maybe I could do something that is both.”
And that is how my first collection of essays, Time is a Solid State, was born.
I decided to do it chronologically, so you could travel through paper time with me; I contradict myself as I grow, and I don’t know if there’s a lot of philosophers out there who “show their work,” who allow you to see the flaws in their thinking, on the way to thinking something better.
And publishing this book, in May 2021, allowed me to answer the questions we began with.
What does it really matter? Talking about ourselves in real ways connects us in real ways.
What does it accomplish? Collecting our lives gives us a history of our lives, and we are our own historians. I turned the internet into a book!
Does anybody actually need it? I do. And if I need it, then maybe someone else does, too.
I always say that the internet would be a better place if we were all a little more vulnerable.
Leading by example has given people as many negative things to say about me as positive ones, and maybe even more.
But every time someone takes the moment to say, “This means something to me,” that means something to me that no mean words can ever erase or take away.
And I feel the point of writing on the internet.