Writing isn’t just for writers. It isn’t just for school, either. Writing is a tool for thinking.
You don’t control your thoughts. They rise from a weird combination of past experiences and held knowledge interacting with the environment. You cannot think about what you’re going to think in advance of thinking about it. Yes, it gets confusing. Our brain is messy. And that’s even before some other idea comes crashing and displaces the previous thought.
Writing is the act of putting thoughts into paper. Once they are in paper, they can’t escape or be displaced, and what’s better, you can start shaping them and refining them.
You can sort out a surprisingly large amount of troubles by just writing them down and working at them on the paper (or screen, but I’m particular to paper), where they can’t escape (and so can’t you).
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I don’t get teary-eyed easily. It’ll happen at the epilogue of a particularly rousing movie, or upon reading an especially touching bit of prose, but it’s rare. Virtual reality, though, has reliably produced the “feels” over the last couple of years.
I’m a terrible VR subject. Astigmatism in my right eye doesn’t play well with VR headsets, making about 60% of my right sight’s range blurry. It means that whenever I put a headset on, I have to play for a bit while feeling something’s wrong until my brain smooths the signal over by attributing dominance to my left eye. Essentially, I am a one-eyed man in a VR situation.
That’s not what makes me tear up, though. I have the good fortune of being neither fatigued nor made sick my VR (with the particular exception of driving cars, something that makes me sick in real life as well).
I get emotional at the sheer beauty of it. So far, I’ve failed to see others having a similar response, so I guess this is a “me” thing, but I am just awash in wonder at being able to put on a helm and be transported to a different place, looking all around and realizing that I am in a different room, with different rules. It’s like lucid dreaming, in a way.
It’s beautiful. It’s magical. Everyone should try it at least once.
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I struggled to decide whether I should write in English or Portuguese.
English is the obvious lingua franca of the internet, and that’s where most of my works are published. There’s more competition for attention, but also a broader audience.
I eventually decided to write in both languages, and, whenever possible, to write the same thing in both languages. I reached this decision because writing is the same as thinking, and writing the same things in different language forces you to think better, to broaden your perspective.
I don’t think Hideo Kojima’s final Metal Gear game, “The Phantom Pain” is his best work, but it was the one which had the greatest impact on me because it exposed me to the idea of how language shapes culture and thought. The English language is more than a vehicle of expression; it’s a vehicle of assimilation.
Reading translated eastern-Europeans like Bulgakov or Dostoyevsky drove this in even further – the words are in English but the thoughts are constructed in a way that is almost alien, and I mean this in the best way possible. They make you organize your thoughts differently.
I’m very impressed by Anglo-Saxon culture, so I don’t mind being somewhat assimilated, but Kojima’s game got me thinking that I should be as serious about writing in my mother tongue as in English. It is not as profitable or practical. But I took it up as a manner of preserving my culture and, more importantly, to sharpen my way of thinking.
Because if everyone thinks in the same language, we’re much less likely to produce interesting ideas.