Metawriting: the Mexican Food Conundrum

Last night, a large number of ideas clicked together.  This is not the first of them.  This is more of me writing about writing: metawriting.  Sorry.

Consider a Mexican restaurant.  (Really any cuisine would do though.)  You can order tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, fajitas, carne asada, and a few other items.  Essentially though, they are all combinations a tortilla, meat, rice, beans, cheese, pico, and then one or two other things that, combined with a unique seasoning, makes each dish distinguishable.  Part of choosing what to eat on that outing is driven not only by the fact that you aren’t going to eat any of the other things that night, but you’re also probably not going to eat any of the other things later that week either.  A man who had tacos yesterday and was invited to a new burrito place today would probably say, “No thanks, I just had Mexican yesterday.”  While the dishes are different, they are similar enough to lump together.  And said man might just miss out on the best burrito ever.

Writing is much the same in that any topic can be “seasoned” and presented any number of ways.  It can come in treatise form, or a Socratic dialogue, biting commentary, parody, or yet other forms.  Yet as a writer, once a form is selected for addressing a topic or event, the pertinent energy, both on the part of the writer and the reader, is spent.  The writer isn’t going to want to re-attack the same issue in a different form for different effect or for a different audience the next day, nor would the reader likely want to read it.  Picking a format, like everything else, has an opportunity cost.


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