Monday, January 05, 2009

Writing and Why it Matters

I have always been the ‘quiet one’. It’s not something that I do consciously but rather a habit I seem to have grown into in my twenty years of life. For me writing is where I find my voice. It is where I am able to open up and allow myself to breathe outside the tight walls of silence that I have built around me. Part of my habit for silence is fed by my fear of being wrong. While I understand that it’s silly to fear to make mistakes because obviously that is how we learn, that understanding does nothing to quench my overwhelming desire to be right. Up until eighth grade I had always loved to read, and wished that I could write so well as my favorite authors. I was convinced that I had no talent with words. But Ms. Adams thought differently, and she made sure that I knew she did. From that point on I gained a new confidence in my ability to write, and drew strength from my new found voice. I found that there were things that were difficult to say out loud that I could write down. I also found comfort in poetry, short stories and keeping a sporadic journal. Writing matters because words have the power to fuel discussion and bridge the gap between distance and time. Writing allows for ideas to be shared, preserved and remembered long after they may have been forgotten. It’s important because words can remind us of bonds that we share. Writing is about the invocation of emotions and tapping into the core of what makes us human.

I recently read John Green’s new book “Paper Towns” which is this amazing book that looks at the ways that we, the collective human population, fail to imagine each other correctly. Every character in the book fails to correctly imagine the female lead, Margo. No two people understand her to be the same person. When speaking about his book John has said,
"When the characters in the book look at Margo, they don’t see Margo, they don’t
see anything essentially true about Margo. What they see is some funhouse mirror
reflection of themselves”.
This is reflective of the way that we interact with each other on a daily basis. When we look at other people our view is clouded by our understanding of ourselves. This means that we cannot ever be them and understand absolutely who they are and what they have gone through because we are so absorbed by who we are and what we have gone through. This is why writing is so important. Books, essays, and blogs can afford us the opportunity to stand in someone else’s shoes. They allow us to give ourselves up to the thoughts of someone else and move outside our own heads. Writing is important because it reminds us of the connections that we have with other people.

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