Friday, January 22, 2016

life in the time of hyperbole

I am sometimes accused of being a drama queen, of playing things up, or (at best) of "having a way with words." Part of that comes from being writerly, some from a vivid imagination, and some from my ongoing mental health battles. But it occurs to me that in this present culture, hyperbole is the norm - a cacophonous crescendo as too many voices work to be heard.

Dramatic tension is the life-blood of all fiction and most non-fiction writing - whether that's for TV, short stories, 'creative non-fiction', or, increasingly and perhaps problematically, journalism. If the story doesn't capture the reader's imagination, some other flashing headline will. I have taken a small and meaningless stand against the mental spam, click-bait, formulaic video and article headlines that are the standard pap of Facebook these days. No matter how compelling the story might otherwise be, if you use one of these ridiculous overstatements, I will not reward you with a click:

Ugh. My head. 

No video has yet changed my life. 
No laughing baby has made me re-assess my philosophy.
No rendition of "Let it Go" has driven me to rhapsodies of spirit and soul.

And yet, I am pulled to play that game. When the whole of society has turned the volume up to 11 and crying wolf is the most common form of communication, how do you make yourself heard, and how do you find the room to think?

That's the task before me for the next 17 days - to create quiet and find a way through the yowling morass to a high place where I can see clearly.

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