01 November 2010

The Importance of Letters and Light

In brief. Before we take off on 30 days and nights of literary abandon (NaNoWriMo.org , thanks for that phrasing and the Office of Letters and Light reference), something on the importance of writing. Writing is important. (and..done). In science, I fight the stereotype that it's not. That literature's not serious. That pursuits of the arts arenot (as) important. That "easier" physics is "physics for poets." The easy, blow-off majors. Can't be serious if it requires fewer credits (college) and doesn't include hours drudging in chemistry labs among fumes and uncomfortable metals stools. 

Writers change the world, too. Writers dictate what we know about the world, everything that we cannot directly ascertain for ourselves (which is most things). Speechwriters, copy writers, editors, blog writers, journalists (obviously) - influence. Everything. I was influenced in no-small-way to work with the Obama campaign, to go to Chicago, after reading Dreams from My Father. In medicine, every single thing we do with a patient, we talk about, must be documented. Is written down.

But that's "non-fiction", if such a thing, complete objectivity, exists.

(even in medicine - it's fascinating, reading through a patient's record, to see how the past medical history/family history/social history "changes." As in, that particular writer asked different/more questions, didn't ask/wasn't paying attention, or the patient said something completely different. )

Sumerians, Hammurabi, hieroglyphs, Rosetta stone.

But fiction changes the world, too. It's how we learn about different cultures, different ideas, different times - stories, personal ones, are what make things poignant. Make them stick. In getting into a character's head, you start to understand - something - else. It changes the reader and it changes the writer. And poetry? Poems are listening, seeing, paying attention in a different kind of way, and trying to connect with a human experience. Reading and writing. The ether, the Jungian collective consciousness. To write more about poetry, I really need to reread Plato.
But I digress.

Whatever it is you write, fiction/not, 50,000 words/not, handwritten, typed, online, in a letter, in an email. it's important, it's November, so - write.:)


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