I also have a problem with, you know, writing; especially beginnings—and, when unrevised, organization. No organization at all here.
Last night, as I was settling down in my opulent bed, having partaken of my usual post-prandial libation, I set about mentally composing an email to one of my many correspondents, one componenet of which was to have been a postscript. (A post-script?) At first I was uncertain where in an email a postscript ought to go—common sense would indicate after the signature block, but gmail, bless its soul, uses the traditional "-- " to delimit signatures and for all I know there are mailers about that strip everything after it. But a PS before the signature is surely an abomination in the eyes of god and man. It's my presumption that, if you were writing a letter out on paper, with ink, in the days before corrective fluid or whatever the generic name for white-out is, you'd write a postscript if, after having signed the damn thing, you remembered that there was something else you wanted to include, or remembered something else you wanted to include. You couldn't go back and insert the new material where it would actually go, either in the midst of some already-written part or before the signature, because there was no room, so: this is what part of the alphabet would look like if there were no "q" and "r". But that simply isn't the case with an email. If I want, after having written the whole thing, to include yet more thing, that option is open to me. I can edit it however I want. Including a PS, an artifact of pen-and-ink writing, is contrary to email-nature; one ought never, therefore, include one. It's an affectation. It shows that you haven't really thought about what you're doing or the tools you're using. &c. Or some such.
But of course a PS has a rhetorical meaning too (a perlocutionary effect? Of course people rarely loquize "pee ess, remember to bring an umbrella", but—I wouldn't even put it past myself, a person occasionally tempted to say not "what the fuck" but "doubleyou tee eff" (but I fight it, oh readers, how I fight it!), to do so), so that's silly. It's something by the way, or perhaps something wholly unrelated to the main thrust of the message but which you're including because it's convenient, or—other such things. And of course that rhetorical effect was available to letter-writers in the age of the necessitous postscript (though not, I assume, at once), which probably occasioned, now and then, interpretive difficulty: is this postscript, which contains quite important information, written as a postscript in order to impart breeziness, or is it a "natural" ps? At any rate, given that "PS" has connotations that aren't really available otherwise in an email (perhaps sending the first, then rapidly sending a second right after, would have a similar effect, but if that were one's plan, well, I don't know. Perhaps what I really dislike is the strategic use of things. Something that's rather PS-like in effect is writing a post, and then immediately making the first comment on it. It's qualitatively different from writing a post and using a "more inside" or cut-tag feature. Sometime's I'm tempted to do it deliberately. I feel similarly about intentional fouls in basketball, sort of. It undermines things, to play rules against each other—they're not supposed to be another aspect of the game, but what structures and makes playable the game. It's like you're acting in bad faith. I'm reminded of a (short (but they were all short, they were supposed to be), not that good (though it got an A)) essay I wrote, about a funerary lekythos. I employed a word which now I can't remember [but see below for an informative update!]. This is where I went in and added that bit about disorganization at the top, btw (qualitatively different from "by the way"? I think so). Of course I could, this all being typed into a text field, move what has basically become the main part of this post out of a multiply-nested parenthetical, but instead I'll just draw further attention to the fact that I haven't.), why not employ it? I don't think that paintings should be limited to expressions of their own flatness; that seems absurd.
I really dislike the last stanza of "One Art" on not entirely dissimilar grounds:
--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
Yeah, like you would actually write "write it". What's it doing there? That expostulation really messes things up for me. I can accept a poem that's a monologue, even though most people speak in prose their whole lives, and but for the self-exhortation in that last line, "One Art" could plausibly be such a poem—if it read "say it", no problem. It's referred to here as "formalized spontaneity" (actually, part of a draft is characterized that way (and uses "say it", for that matter, and the essay addresses the change), but good enough), but that seems wrong; when it's "say it" it comes across as actual spontaneity in a monologue; when "write it", an attempt at evoking or signaling spontaneity. Later in that essay the author interprets the change (which is accompanied by verb tense change to "I shan't have lied"—after having Write it-ed, you see) as meaning "that in the writing of such a disciplined, demanding poem lies a piece of the mastery of the loss."—a meaning that could only be conveyed if it's clear that this poem is being written, and is reinforced by the exhortation, as the author has to be pushed*, has to work through the very process of writing. But to have written the exhortation itself makes no sense. Its being written implies exactly the sort of distance and reflection that its use implies are absent. (It also seems to embody a confusion of roles, but I'm unsure how to articulate that in light of its evidently autobiographical nature—basically, it makes sense for Elizabeth Bishop to include "(Write it!)", because without it, we would interpret the poem differently, but not for the "author"—the one doing the exhorting, who presumably did not write numberless drafts before arriving at the final form—to do so.)
What it really boils down to is, I have a problem with self-awareness, its absence and presence.
*passive voice used so I don't have to decide whether to use "himself" or "herself"—I gather it's autobiographical so presumably "herself".
Updated later: the word I employed was "attenuation". That was a kind of pretentious essay, really.