Why I Continue to Write on Medium

Someone asked me recently why I continue to write here and I told them I liked the immediacy of it. I like not thinking too much, not being too deliberate, having a thought and just being able to let it go.

Sometimes a lot of people read, and sometimes only a few people read, and occasionally nobody reads, but in truth I don’t really give much of a fuck.

Words have a lot of value, but then, also they don’t. I like to think that words belong to nobody, and that they also belong to everybody, and while I hold out certain words for certain things, I have a lot of words about a lot of things, and I don’t mind sharing them here, if and when I actually have something I’d like to say.

I remember, when I first began writing here, people would ask me if I was being paid, and I would tell them that — at least at that time — I was not. Since most of these people considered themselves professional writers, or something like that, this was considered blasphemy.

But at that time, for whatever reason, nobody would really publish what I had to say, and the whole process of pitching an article for an amount of money that could barely pay a phone bill, then deal with some twenty-something editor just out of college, waving his/her fancy liberal arts college degree in my face, seemed like a giant waste of time. Fuck that shit.

And so I began publishing here, writing little odds and ends, thoughts on this subject or that, stories and whatnot. I began to build a little following, and that was cool. That following has been pretty loyal since then, and though it is a small following, it is a dedicated one, and for them every day I am truly grateful.

I was at a thing recently, I don’t want to get too much into what it was. But when I was there, I realized something I may have taken for granted all these years. I realized that so many people write, but then, many people are also not read. Some people go their whole lives without anyone reading the things they’ve have written.

As for myself, I am confident I can write up any old bullshit — kind of like this — and put it out into the universe; someone, somewhere, will find it. It’s kind of mind-blowing to have that power, that voice, especially when I know that the voice was developed mostly on my own.

But these people, they so desperately want to be read, and they are sort of caught up in this traditional cycle of pitching articles to publications, submitting work, hoping to get an acceptance email, all that jazz. I envy their work ethic and passion, I do. I wish I cared as much about this shit as them. I have no patience for that crap.

Which is why I write here. Not all my work is here — in fact, very little of it is — but what I feel like giving away, you can find it here. And though I say it is a little, it is actually quite a lot, and I am continuing to write stuff here, because as I said, why not?

When my life ends, I will know that someone out there read all this stuff, and whether I got paid for it or some theoretically intelligent person decided it was worthy enough to be published in their journal or their magazine or their website, none of that will really matter. All that will matter was that it was read, and when you’ve really got something to say, that’s the only thing that counts.

get in touch: paulcantor@gmail.com

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Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.

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