In Short

In short

“Life is not a plot; it’s in the details.” ―  Vanishing Acts

He is reading my analysis for twenty minutes now, stretching his legs upward on the edge of  the table. Outside his glass wall, some of my close friends are waiting for me to go for a tea break. I get bored when people read my stuff silently. I get annoyed when my friends take tea breaks without me. But I can’t ask him anything now. This is the analysis I made after working ten hours a day. This is the analysis that kept me away from food, shower, and even my most favorite TV shows. I worked on every minute detail before calling it an analysis. After another ten silent minutes, he looks at me with a smile, saying, “It’s a great analysis- you covered everything. But can you make it short?”

From that day, in last ten years, I worked hard to make the story short. The discussions. The analysis. The emails. The chats. The meetings. The gatherings. The talks we talk when we meet someone all of a sudden. Phone calls where my mother has too many questions. Even my blog posts- mostly they all are short. It’s the clarity where I try to focus. More clarity in less words. I learned: no one has time to read two page long write-ups these days!

I went to writing classes at one of country’s most popular schools. Every aspiring author there filled up their pages with a lot of emotions and explanations. I was the only one who wrote a page long stories, and six lines long poems. I was also the popular one. Not sure if that was due to the length or the content of my pieces.  It’s a pressure to control our thoughts in limited words. But isn’t the world changing in that direction? Aren’t we the generation of small talks, emojis, and abbreviated emotions?

On my phone, the most used emoji is the “Face With Tears of Joy.”  I send it every time something makes me extremely happy. I overuse it. Though in reality, I never cry out of joy. I grin, or maybe I laugh out really loud. At times, I feel, I’m lying to people; instead of that emoji, I should write five paragraphs about real emotions I feel that moment. But I don’t do such things. I just follow the rules, and keep conversations short.

The chat history with my sibling doesn’t carry any word.  We use emojis from every category to talk. A broken heart- every time we sign off. The emoji of a weight lifter, when I’m in gym. Birthday cake symbol on our respective birthdays. Breakfast emoji with a fried egg, if we had breakfast- it doesn’t matter what we had that morning.

I feel like a caveman, painting the world with images, decoding other people’s emojis to understand the words. Sometimes they even don’t mean what I think they mean. Why did we learn languages then? Maybe to describe a joyful breakfast story in which we eat a cake, and last night’s leftover pasta, and call it the best morning? Maybe to explain differences between a duck egg and a chicken egg. Right?

The data on my blog stat shows: every single short post gets more views and more comments. It gives me an idea what readers want to read. Almost everyone wants to read short pieces, opinions within hundred words. But aren’t we missing out details while keeping thoughts short? Isn’t it good to talk to the neighbor for ten minutes once in a while, after our thirty seconds long greeting ritual? Aren’t we getting too busy while chasing the time? Aren’t we making our real stories real short?

♠**♠

 

17 thoughts on “In Short

  1. Having grown up with books and being older, I find that my attention span is shorter. Blogs and looking for information on the internet comprise most of my reading. I do sometimes read at night but depending on the book, informational vs fiction, I don’t finish the book.
    Everyone made excellent points here. I still love long conversations with interesting subjects. Hmmm. Maybe texting has shortened our ability to have a meaningful conversation. Good post!! Thanks!!

  2. You hit the nail Archita. Its the nanos and the micros ruling the world today and there is no patience for detail. While short works most of the times, the real detail ones, be stories or conversations, help it last longer. Like you said, life is in the details.

    Loved your post.

    1. Thank you, Sampada. It’s bullet points, and pictures, kind of buzzfeed like stories I see everywhere. They certainly work. People have no time to scroll down to read till the end, to find authenticity in author’s voice anymore. Plus I read in a New Yorker article that young people say books smell like old people. I, certainly, being a book lover, am concerned. Life is in the details. I’m sure we’ll understand it soon. 🙂

  3. I for one have totally lost the ability to have long conversations, be it on the phone, over chat or face to face. But that change didn’t happen drastically. It happened over a long period of time, when I found fewer people to talk to, fewer people who resonate my thoughts, who understand it and reciprocate. Now it seems impossible to go back and talk my heart out. However I love reading blog posts, long or not. I like writing them too. But some days writing also seems tedious and pointless. :-/

    1. I can understand, Arch. I still can have long discussions, but I mostly don’t open up unless the discussion is about something good. I remember, in twenties, all my friends discussed for long hours about falling in and falling out of love; in thirties, those long discussions are mostly about “in-laws” and every discussion starts with “I don’t judge others, other people do” and they go on..I find those talks pointless. Not that I don’t understand their problems. Not that I don’t go through similar problems in my life. It’s just a choice. I read a wonderful post by an Indonesian blogger last year, she wrote about such problems but suggested to regroup, find new friends in the city. It surely helps. There are so many people with whom we can discuss our ideas, thoughts. This world is big, and our life is short. I love reading blog posts too, long and short ones. 🙂 Writing is good, Arch. Write for yourself. ❤

  4. I’m glad you write what you want. If we follow the stats, then we muss the reason we blog. I too have found short post with a nice picture do better. But I’m not looking for views, I write to enjoy.

    1. I’m glad you wrote this, Patrick. Thank you. I write to practice writing. I like it when it becomes a habit, though I have a busy schedule. That is why I participate in these monthly challenges. There are short and easy ways to get views- but there is no shortcut to contentment.

  5. You ask many good questions here! I appreciate short, concise writing esp. when I have lots of posts to read. But sometimes it is good to let words flow more generously, letting your heart and soul be the guides. No one likes to waste their time on empty claptrap, but a good read can be life-altering in many ways. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Eliza. I like to put a balance between long-reads and short write-ups. I’m a better reader than a writer. So I understand what you’re saying. 🙂

  6. Oh I love this. And it’s true. Our attention spans have dwindled significantly for content online. I can’t write or read long blog posts. I confess I click away. And I’m like you. I write short posts, micropoems, micro everything. It ties in well with my editorial job too. Missed you Archita. I’ll be back to blogging in June. Enjoy the az 🙂

    1. People say, we read less nowadays. But I think we read more. News, entertainment, cooking, home arrangements, blogs, pinterest, instagram, tweets- too many things to read. I read long and short posts both. But I am confused about commenting. I can never write a bad review. Ha ha. Missed you here too, Shailaja. Be back soon. 🙂 Thank you for reading.

  7. Blog posts are quick looks out the window. Novels and longer books are when you go to live in someone else’s house for a while. That’s how I think most readers look at it. It has to do with your expectations… Good post.

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