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What is writing? February 28, 2009

Posted by Tim in Uncategorized.
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After many months, I’ve decided to resurrect this blog. I have been continuing (and will continue) to post on my new blog, dedicated to my life in Russia. But over the last month I’ve been more and more wanting to write, and write things that don’t belong there.

I’ll begin with this, something I journaled out a few months ago:

What is writing? Writing is the crafting of language into a vessel for the soul. Each language offers its own tools and instruments, but the cry of men’s hearts strike the same notes through all time. Writing is the searching out, the discovery of the precise pockets of words that will capture the sounds of man’s cry and resonate eternally. Good writing maintains the tone through the medium of ink and pages. Great writing magnifies and clarifies, it makes the notes more brilliant, the soul more spoken than if language had not interfered. But the masterful writing crafts an instrument that is transformed by the cry. The words and structures so deeply harmonize that the writing ceases to be a tool and becomes an extension of the man. It does not merely broadcast a message, it expands the boundaries of the very man. And so we have our giants, who need no resurrection to grip us and demand we listen to their soul. And some have imparted to writing a living being, so infused with themselves that their body of words breath independently. Legions still wrestle with Shakespeare, crowds still ask Fitzgerald: ‘what is youth?’ Why? It is not as simple as study or appreciation. Their soul is so preserved in the cloistered echo-chambers of their writing that they yet take in questions, and answer. They spot the passive observer and entice him with a riddle. They seal their lips for the haughty inquirers.

Writing is Prometheus’ fire. But a vapor, it is an immortality the gods cannot assail. It is not the notes of the song. It is what makes it a song.

As always, I invite your comments.

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