HOW DO I MANIFEST MY ANGER IN WRITING? LIKE THIS. THIS IS ANGRY WRITING. WE ALL KNOW IT’S A SUREFIRE WAY TO LET SOMEONE KNOW YOU ARE YELLING IN TEXT FORM. YEAH, YOU HEARD ME – AND YOU DON’T EVEN NEED TO TURN UP THE VOLUME.
Although I do shoot out the occasional “ARE YOU [insert expletive] KIDDING ME?!” text (which often resolves nothing), I’ve found that angry writing can serve concrete and very beneficial purposes. Personally, I have a hard time writing anything unless I’m moved by some overwhelmingly intense emotion, with anger being one of them. Some of the best and most personal writing I’ve done has been initiated in fits of rage when I could find solace in nothing else. I’ve taken to the keyboard or grabbed a pen and paper to express thoughts that were better left unsaid aloud, and I think that’s important… to be able to distinguish between what should be spoken and shared and what should be written and tucked away (or set on fire). Angry writing affords you enough time to make the more logical decision. It’s a different kind of “counting to 10,” though the writing time will most likely last more than 10 seconds. Angry writing is a deep breath.
Sometimes my angry writing consists of fragmented thoughts, while other times it takes on the form of a letter to a friend or a poem. One of the goofiest moments I had as an adjunct instructor so far was when I was a bit frustrated with my students and went to write a passive aggressive email, but what came forth from my fingers instead was this:
Thanks to all those who came to class last night.
I hope your midterm grades didn’t give you a fright.
I was happy to meet with you all as you did peer review,
But sad those who didn’t submit drafts will receive minus two.
Just a reminder if you look on your syllabus you’ll see
An important note underlined at the bottom of Page 3:
If you’re absent you’re still required to submit what’s due,
Whether a central claim or paper draft, this rule holds true.
Even on Halloweekend, deadlines are firm,
And meeting them will help you be successful this term.
I look forward to collecting your papers Monday night.
Add commas where commas go, and don’t forget to cite.
I hope your Halloweekend is super sweet,
And that your papers have no tricks; make each one a treat.
So very corny. I know. But what could have been an email that said “WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU DON’T HAVE TO SUBMIT A DRAFT IF YOU’RE ABSENT FROM CLASS?” and “YOUR LACK OF CARE FOR YOUR WORK WILL NEVER FLY IN YOUR FUTURE JOBS” took on this shape instead. Could the students tell my blood was boiling? Not really. [They actually complimented me on the email during our next class period.] And I know that after I cooled down I would’ve regretted sending a passive aggressive email, so I was pleased that I took my writing breather to work through my thoughts.
Angry writing is all around us. We see and listen to it every day in the form of song lyrics. We’re able to connect to the combination of the words and music, which help us feel or release our own anger. Listen to an Eminem song. Throw on some heavy metal. This type of music moves us to feel and serves as a great example of the power angry writing can hold for us too.
I think it’s essential to draw the line between public and private writing when it’s so jam-packed with emotion. Not sending a passive aggressive email you’ll later regret or one of these YELLING-I HATE YOU-YOU ARE ALWAYS WRONG-YOU ALWAYS ANNOY ME-AND IF WE WERE TOGETHER IN PERSON MY HAND WOULD BE IN YOUR FACE texts is a step in the right direction. We all just need to take a deep breath, sigh the thoughts out onto the page, and take an extra moment before clicking “send.”