On stylistical complexity

A reader of this blog commented on the lack of discipline in structuring my ideas, that the message can be conveyed through a much simpler presentation. I wholeheartedly agree with this judgement, and it is my conclusion that my writing structure is overly complex for a number of reason which I detail below.

I wanted to pursue some form of short-form writing for a very long time, but have always found that I spent a long time trying to structure my thoughts and ideas; in particular a long enough time to curtail my flow of creative ideas and interest. I decided to start this blog by writing what comes to mind as it comes, at least roughly: if a structure for my ideas is within immediate grasp then I will not ignore it. This strategy seems to be working well so far.

To be frank, I find this complex style of writing to be fun and satisfying, and as this platform mainly serves a creative outlet, I should not deny myself this guilty pleasure. Superfluous sophistication in grammatical structure and vocabulary, in vein of the “Archaic Rap” meme, appeals to me. I do not wish to neglect this niche art form.

In addition to this, I also find that I sometimes attempt to understand concepts using too complicated a mental model or construction, which some may refer to as bending over backwards, or performing mental gymnastics. I have learned to rethink a concept if I catch myself building too intricate a mental model for it, though this does go by unnoticed on occasion.

This discussion reminds me of how significantly, stylistically speaking, oral and written language differ; at least in non-chatty writing. The style of texts and instant messaging resembles the oral form much more closely, though it also exhibits its own set of quirks and nuances. Self perpetuance is definitely a factor, we write in a similar style to what we read, but I do not believe it to be the root cause. The non-interactivity of writing is a big factor, and the fact that instant messaging type writing resembles speech very closely agrees with this. An example of non-interactivity in oral language is the lecture or the speech or the sermon. As we would expect, these tend to be more formal in their presentation.

Going off on somewhat of a tangent (as we do), it occurs to me that these two language modes are treated very differently by the human species. Great orators are often celebrated for their capacity to evoke an emotional response, much more than the quality of information conveyed. Similar behaviour is prevalent with great authors, but the inattention to information quality is much less pronounced. It would seem that the interactive nature of oratory makes it more susceptible to emotional capture, whereas writing can be more detached.

I would like to think that I am presenting intelligent, albeit futile, discussions with an emotionally manipulative cloak of emotive diction. What is more likely is that I paint a collage of pretty words, cloaked with a veil of apparent intelligence.