It was once mentioned to me by an English teacher at school that they were surprised by the content of a piece of homework I had written. It was remarked that my written word was far more advanced than my other forms of communications. By this she meant my mouth. I will never forget that day as it was the first verbal affirmation of my writing ability.
The article in question was a mere review of the film ‘Star Wars’, a strong favourite of mine at the time, and a subject I had spent a considerable amount of time thinking about. This was around 1979, and in the UK we had yet to discover the luxury of the VHS player, and my one visit to the cinema with my Dad had been the only opportunity to see a film that had blown anything else I had seen previously clean out of the water. It was to my viewing experience what someone living on rice their whole life would feel given a bar of chocolate for the first time. It was not just a different ballpark, it was a different game altogether. So having sat around in the playground, with months to relive this astounding cinematic experience in my mind, I was just busting to get this down on paper for the world to see. Or just my English teacher as it goes.
The point is that I found the written word the ideal way to express myself. I could think about the structure of the article, I had time to consider what I really wanted to say. I could have all the conversations I wanted to have in one succinct statement, tailored to deliver the message I was trying to portray. As an adolescent male, this was infinitely preferable to the outpourings of confused thoughts conveyed by my uncertain verbal skills.
That is the point. It does not matter of you are a teenager or an ageing reptile, the written word gives you the time to think about what you are trying to say. It allows you to take back a phrase made in haste; it allows you to undo a critical error before the damage has been done. In reality it allows you to edit the outpourings of the mind. I have never had this ability through the spoken work, and frequently I upset those around me. How often of an evening I pass off a silent shudder at the memory of an inappropriately spoken word at work during the day. If it had been written I could just delete and rewrite, rather than have to consider the recovery tactics I need to put in place the next day. This is the curse of an overactive mind and I am sure you all know what I mean.
Of course it wasn’t always as easy as it is now. When I wrote my book report at school it was on the pages of a battered exercise book, with scribbled out lines and scruffy revisions. Now we all write on Word, and with ‘Back Space’, ‘Delete’ and the persistent assistance of ‘Spell check’, delivering the written word is more efficient than it ever was before. Of course, we are still subject to human error, and with the quick dispersal of information over the internet, an error can reach a far wider audience in a far shorter time. This is the subject of a previous blog so I won’t go there now. We do now have an easy and efficient framework to deliver the written word to a comprehensive and far reaching audience. Even that school kid with a book report can be read across the globe in minutes.
So for me the motivation of writing is to say the things I want to say, and hopefully get some feedback and discussion on the topics that spill out of my ever active mind. At this point I have to say I am a little disappointed as to how little feedback I do get at times. It is not the validation I seek, but rather the confirmation that the words I have so lovingly crafted have delivered their intended message. It is also very important to grow as a person, and this is only really possible by consuming understanding the differing perspectives possible on a subject. I believe there is no wrong or right, just relative perspective. So I am keen to know what other people feel about a topic, with no requirement for sanctimony, only the truth.
But that is about feedback, and this article is about the word itself. The use of the language we have been provided with, and the way we sculpture these words into a work of expression, of art, of unique deliverance of a subject. Writing is an art form just as painting is. It is the externalisation of the inner most feelings. It does not mean you have to ebb and flow like a Wordsworth or a Coleridge, or conceptualise as a Huxley or a Burrows. What you write is individual to you, and by definition should be an expression of who you are. And that is the power of the written word, it can portray an emotion, or a feeling, and can be delivered in such a multitude if different ways, of differing methods of construction. It is infinite in its interpretation of life for it is a direct explanation of the random wanderings of the mind. It is the essence of who you are. It does not hide behind colours and objects. Writing is the absolute outpourings of the soul.
Well it can be, not every subject will come from that deep down, but every piece of written work will have attached to it the trappings of its author and carry the thumbprint of your being. Take to your lap tops, to your tablets, write what is on your mind and share this with the world. Let’s make sure the internet and it’s ever growing reach becomes a platform for debate and human growth, not just an exercise in how much can be said on Twitter in 140 words. Use the language you have to express yourself and share your thoughts.
So having said that, please share your comments below. Or if you feel inspired, write an article and post it on the internet. You can always register here and post. I will do my best to assist the spread of your message, of your art.