I spend the majority of my time tucked behind computer screens, scrutinizing every comma, semicolon, and em dash, in an endless effort to peel back the layers of literary smokescreens in hopes of revealing an author’s genuine intent. After years of tapping squarely-lettered keys, I can resolutely stand behind one indisputable discovery. There is almost always more meaning in the mistakes.
It is my job to bend language by squeegeeing sentences to wipe away the dirty ambiguity born from a writer’s internal monologue. We are all guilty of celebrating the dizziness achieved from riding the carousel of private broken records. It’s not our fault. Revelations routinely sound sweeter when they’re produced between our own ears.
But consistently revising these misappropriated intentions makes me wonder how much real-world editing we do on a daily basis. How many conversations are buffered to limit impact? How often do we feign interest in the details of other people’s lives to pretend we still share a connection? What does truth look like…unabridged?
I am beyond lucky to live in this pretty plastic city, surrounded by a core group of friends who shun pretense and smoke-blowing so adamantly, we barely even notice the permeating artificiality waiting with disinterested fangs at every corner. We’ve miraculously been able to avoid the bite by floating above the nonsense and holding firmly to our East Coast roots while baking our skin in the California sun.
But on a macrocosmic level, the question remains. Are we editing ourselves so severely that even the notion of veracity will someday sit beside 1950s table manners in a dusty museum of relics?
Truth isn’t necessarily the most popular concept to hang a hat on these days, but its extinction will undoubtedly leave some craters no clever repartee can fill. We might be wise to lay the eraser down for a little while and speak from the heart. What’s the worst that could happen? Honesty?