This is an alternate version of 'Words and White Spaces'. Most of the edits were for space requirements -- it was single-spaces, front and back of a single paper. I handed this in to my Tolerance teacher, who not only asked people to comment on it for the final exam, but actually allowed me to see, first-hand, the comment my classmates made. That was truly one of the coolest experiences of the class, and of my school career so far -- it was the first time I actually got to see exactly what most of my classmates actually were thinking.

Read, review, compare it with the original. This one doesn't have as much quirkiness, which is either a felt loss or a relief to most of you. ^_^


Words are words, you know? I mean, when you say something, it's still words, not speech. You speak in words, the same letters than you learned how to write on paper when you were five and six in big wobbly print. The big rounded words that come out of your mouth are still the same words that would be black print on white paper, only flat.

And words always seem so much better when they're written down, right? I mean, you think words, and they sound all right when safe in the space between your ears and behind your mouth, but unclamp your lips and unlock your teeth and words will come flying out and sound wrong, wrong, wrong, and everyone will be laughing, not laughing with you but laughing at you, even though they're mostly the same thing, you know, they're the same thing except with one you can cover up the pain with a whole lot of bravado. I have tons of bravado. Bravado drips off me. It's learning when to stop with the bravado that kills me.

But if I was able to write the words down, they'd be safe, they'd be right. People wouldn't laugh at them, they'd think "man, this kid is smart!" because my thoughts seem so good when they're in my head, and I know, know for certain that if I could skip the part where my words are hanging in the air like snowflakes before they crash into the ground crazily, if I could skip that awkward stage where I've just said something and everyone's not certain whether it's okay to laugh but then they laugh 'cause they figure it's me, who cares, then my words would sound good when written down on paper.

But they don't, because no one bothers to say what's on their mind when they write down things on paper. They don't care about truthfulness and sincerity and stuff, they care about proper spelling and capitalization and grammar rules like every single word they write is going to be an essay and graded and if you don't get a 97 or better on the essay then god, you're doomed and gone and down the drain and face it, you'll never get into that Ivy League school you were counting on, you prestigious bastard.

No one writes down their thoughts verbatim. I wish people would. I wish I knew what others really thought, instead of letting their true feelings lapse into the white space between words and lines and paragraphs. And that's another thing, something that pisses me off so, so much. People don't let themselves think truthfully any more. They just write what they want people to think about them, snobs who can't think for themselves, they just write what they want people to think about themselves. And that's not honest, it's too polished off to have any real emotion left in it. No happiness, no joy, no pain, no suffering, no realness left, only dry cut-and-paste wording peppered with cynicism and condescension. Like a sign: No raw emotions allowed.

I happen to like raw emotions. I like knowing that other people feel the same way as me. That I'm not alone in our crazy mixed-up world, where everything's a cliché and no one wants to even think about living, really living, any more, it's too scary.

It's like music, music is orderly and precise now, music is a science. But real music isn't like this, sometimes music has to be free and unorderly. Sometimes the best music can't be described by notes and time values and whatever. Music is like, like the crashing of the waves and the way the flames flicker. It shouldn't be repeated, it should never be the same twice.

I like watching the waves crash on the beach. I like seeing flames, watching them engulf and grow and become strong in a way that no soul, no person burdened down, can be. You know what I like? When I'm in a hot, stuffy room and someone opens a window and I can feel the wind rushing across my cheeks. You know what I hate? When someone closes that window. It makes me feel worse, I was able to feel free for a moment and all of a sudden someone just took away all my freedom, and now my cheeks feel hotter than ever, because they were able to cool for a moment and it just really sucks, you know?

I wonder if life is really real, or if I'm just asleep and imagining it. I always feel that way, like I've been asleep and I want to remember what I was dreaming, it was such a good dream, but they won't let me sleep again, won't let me escape from whatever my life is.

Maybe in my dreams I'm totally different, maybe in my dreams I'm popular, well-liked, loved. Maybe if my dream-self and I got together, then I wouldn't be able to stand my dream-self and vice versa. Maybe my dream-self is my real self, dreaming that I'm me.

I don't like writing things down on paper 'cause my handwriting gets all scrambled and wild and looks really messy and I get tons of points off 'cause no one can read it. I can't think of anyone who writes like the fonts on a computer, 'cept for maybe the perfect girls who have never done anything wrong in their life and always look wonderful and always, always are perfect. I can't think of anyone whose handwriting is like Arial or Courier New or Verdana or even Comic Sans MS, that would just be weird.

Whenever someone types, they've got such a powerful tool, they can erase. They can edit. I don't want to edit, but I do it anyway, before I even realize it. This is what a normal sentence for me is, isn't it? No, a normal sentence would have spelling erors and tyops and things. That's how people write, you know, truthfully. Honestly. Wrongly.

With a computer, you edit, you edit all the time, it's nothing wrong. But there's so many white spaces on a computer document, ever notice that? There's so many white spaces, two spaces after every period, one space between every word, a line between each paragraph. Empty, empty, empty.

You know, it's really the white spaces that make up something. Forget about my words, if I was writing then I'd like to be able to have a paper where I could write truthfully and honestly and write all my words freely, with them jumbling and touching and no white space, not at all. I'd like to write a paper with my words in a solid block and give my English teachers hell to try to decipher them.

But the white spaces, the white spaces, they're the places where all the things that you don't want said come to life. The offensive terms, the derogatory words, the things that you would never think of saying -- they live in the white spaces, unfriendly ghosts that keep glaring at you. So you leave more and more white spaces and fill up what you can with black letters that jumble together and don't mean a thing, don't mean a damned thing because you don't put anything in them, except for your own ego.

How many words actually mean something? How much of anything actually means something? Very little, you know, very very little. Everyone's so afraid to mean something, everyone's afraid of baring their soul. Everyone's afraid because there's always that person who will bare their soul, always that person that doesn't think about the consequences of their actions, always that person that is unafraid and fearless and so filled with their own arrogance and bravado that they're liable to choke on it. And everyone always makes fun of that person, because that person is different. Because that person doesn't have time to be scared, they're so full of being different and being unafraid.

And it's tough being the example, heartbreakingly tough to be different. But I have to be, because it's the weight that people accept for themselves, unthinkingly. There are people who are doomed to fall into the background, and me, I envy those people because they don't have to deal with the pointed looks, the whispers, the laughs, the incredulous stares. I'm the example, but I can't be anything else, I'm too different.

And yes, I'd like to be scared. I'd like to be quiet. I'd like to be a hell of a lot of things, but I'm not. And I can never be. It's the thing that makes me me that I hate so much, but if I was you I'd still hate me because I'm not me. That didn't make sense, but I'm on a roll so shut up. And I'm the person who stands up and does things, who answers the questions designed to humiliate the audience because of their ignorance, who bites the serpent back. I'm this person because I couldn't be any other. And you're the whoever you are, I don't know who you are, I'm too busy being me.

It's the difference between the words written and the words left unsaid, the poetry everyone reads and the poetry everyone thinks. The things that we feel and the things that we say and the embarrassment and the satisfaction, whatever it is -- it's all just the words and the white spaces, packaged together.