In a Lithub article about writing and the meanings of the problems that a writer might have with their drafts, I came across one problem that I often find myself facing — the use of parentheses.
Helen Betya Rubenstein writes in the article that this might indicate an attempt to shift gears, but not knowing how.
“Or, there’s a second voice, subterranean, a bit repressed, that is trying to speak out.”
In the article’s introduction, Rubenstein suggests that our typical response to writing that “resists us” is “more force, pushing it to bend to our will”.
“We ask a friend to tell us which “darlings” to murder. We go through with a red pencil, slashing words.”
She suggests that instead of seeing these early drafts as “adversaries to be wrestled into submission”, we see them as “reflective of the unspoken needs and confusions of our writing selves”.
Perhaps, she says, these problems in our drafts are “capable of leading us deeper into the work”.
So back to my problem of always wanting to use parentheses, the indication that there may be an “other” voice in me trying to have its say. Or perhaps that I am always on multiple trains of thought.
She suggests trying to “give the other voice more space”.
But as I think about all her suggestions for all the other typical problems, I wonder if it’s not just that other voice I have to make room for.
Perhaps I need to make room for my entire Self. To finally let more of it loose.