I’m sitting in the courtyard of the local community college, after sitting an hour in a coffee shop, and most of an hour in the library, and consecutively getting politely shown, as they swept up and dimmed the lights, that they would be closing soon, and would just as well not have to ask people to leave. It’s a lovely, clear evening, just after sunset, when the gold of the fading light hitting the rest of the sky in a brown which still manages to show that it’s made of blue and orange. And I’m thinking: I ought to write. What ought I to write about?
I’ve been learning this year, very gradually, and with no striking moments, some of the things that I’m not any good at writing. I’m not good at advertising copy. My manager/friend is, which I suspect to come from a combination of talent and practice, as so many thing do. Neither am I very good at financial tips. This may partly be because I’m a little isolated, and rarely hear from those struggling financially except through several layers of filtering — usually filters that are primarily interested in showing how my company has helped them. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. We have helped them, and it’s worth pointing that out. But neither is it necessarily wrong to be uninterested in stories only encountered through such a filter. It’s not a terribly interesting filter, unless one’s question is something like “how can I get a good loan from an organization that’s got my best interest in mind?” Which is a legitimate question, when it arises. It can be an important practical question. It’s a question to which I’ve learned a few answers. They’re solid answers, neither interesting nor controversial. And so I’m not very good at writing about them, because I neither feel them to be interesting, nor do I have a very good sense for how to put things well.
This is something of a disappointment. I rather wish I were more interested in how things are said, and had thought I was, before realizing more of what that entails. I had confused caring that what one actually says, what one means to say, and what is actually the case are as close as they can be, with noticing how things sound and refining them accordingly. I’m much better at the former than at the latter, and even then I’m ignorant of many of the terms of this field.
And I’m shy of writing this here., because the friends who are likely to read this and my co-workers overlap more than they have previously, so I want to emphasize that what they do is important, even if I can’t write about it well. In addition to my vast ignorance concerning all things financial, which has been alleviated somewhat over the course of this past year. I’m too blunt and will say: “there’s this service. It could prove helpful. You should know about it, so that you’ll know it’s there, and can use it when it should prove helpful to you.” You can get a special savings account. It’ll help you keep track of your savings goal. For instance, if you know that you’ll want to spend some $500 on gifts, hospitality, food, etc around the holidays, then you can get a Christmas club account, and have $45 automatically transfer into it each month. This is simpler to keep track of than constantly remembering that a certain amount of money in your checking account oughtn’t be spent if you can help it. So it can be a good tool. But it’s hard not to write like *that* — sort of bluntly, and when I try to do otherwise it comes out awkwardly. Perhaps if I were to become any good at copy writing, I would have to do so very intentionally, as though I were going to try a dialect that weren’t my own — find specific examples and study explicitly what’s happening in them.