Sunday, January 4, 2009

Why Do You Write?

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as
you are dead, either write things worth
reading or do things worth writing."

Thus wrote Benjamin Franklin in what seems to have been a reflective moment. How could those who lived in Franklin's time know just how their actions (and the way those actions were recorded) would change the future? How do any of us know how what we do now will make a difference?

Could Franklin's dictum have been advice given to young up and comers in his day to either do something that might change history or the live of others--or to write about it?

Maybe not. But his thought does raise an essential question for those of us engaged in the art of writing. If the fact that something notable was done is not recorded in some way, will it exist beyond the immediate memory of those who saw it done? Perhaps writing about such things is the literary equivalent of taking note of the proverbial tree falling in the forest.

The significance of the written word is that it becomes the de facto record of what has happened or might happen, whether in fact or only in the creative minds of human kind. So, pick up your pens, cuddle your keyboards and capture what is going on around you or in the lives of the tantilizing characters you create. Will you write poetry, a journal, an essay, an article or a book? Will it be fiction or the real McCoy? Will you entertain or incite? Will you satirize reality, giving life a funny face?

And, by the way, who is your audience? After all is said (whether done or not), will anyone read what you have so meticulously recorded? Will what you have written become its own version of the tree falling in the forest?

Perish the thought! Because thinking that thought may be enough to put an end to the writing. And that we can ill afford. So, take heart, my friend, and keep writing. Make every word count as a grand, bold, essential step forward. toward preserving who we are and what we have done.

Now, Maestro, please! The Crescendo!

No comments:

Post a Comment