Putting thoughts into words is a terrifying prospect.
The stakes alone are obscenely high: each attempt is an opportunity to make someone laugh or cry; a chance to express something that matters.
But if that weren’t enough, our words are usually received by others and we can’t know how they will react to them or what they may do with them. Once public, our words become an opportunity for misapprehension, rejection, and ridicule. We risk having them passed on to someone who was never meant to have them. Putting thoughts into words is exposing.
And so we don’t do it.
Instead we construct little lists in our minds of all the things we wanted to say but didn’t; should have said but couldn’t. And we live our lives in all the possible worlds where we’d had the strength to give them voice—none of those worlds real but all of them under our control.
Reality is treated to pretences and poorly constructed jokes—practised exercises in obfuscation that we repeat even as we tell ourselves we have nothing to say.
The following pages contain some 25,000 words. They’re all, in a way, small acts of courage and defiance. Each has been carefully selected (often where ten or twelve others would likely have done) to make public something that its author thought was important. We don’t know how you will react to them. Some may make you happy, others sad or angry. They may not matter to you (it’s likely that many of them won’t), but they do matter to someone.
Read them. Or don’t, of course—it’s entirely up to you.