I write a lot. We all do. Emails, chats, tweets, texts, stories and secrets.
I have always written, in one form or another. I probably always will.
Increasingly, what I write will be preserved forever. The love-struck letters to Steven Skinner in grade seven, those I will probably never see again, nor will anybody else (thank God).
But times have changed. The bulk of my letters are no longer on paper. I have a record of every email I've sent for the past five years. I was an early Gmail subscriber for that reason alone: I will never have to delete an email, ever again.
As the glut of writing in my own life increases, I ask myself: how can it be better?
One aspect of good writing is emotional honesty. I've never had a problem writing what I feel. To tap into the core of my current state, express it honestly and accessibly, has been a daily exercise. Every day, I communicate with someone who has been important to me but now lives far away. To do this kind of long-distance relationship justice, I have to be genuine, or else the relationship stays in the past and never grows. I have to be aware of who I am at that moment in time, and convey it.
But there is a skill that is harder than relaying with honesty the truth of what I feel. It's a skill I've thought about a lot lately. The skill is permanence.What can I write now that I will still believe, in 20 years? That person is harder to tap into than the person who is going through today. That person exists, divorced from the events of this week or month. That person pops up when I'm reading, more often than when I'm writing. That person is better than the other one, I think.