…on why I write (or why I do not)

Following a discussion with Gethyn: the impetus for writing; why do people write?  To communicate; that much is conclusive; though that is not a hunger; rather, a purpose, which renders it practical; similarly to the distinction of Roman funerary inscriptions as useful art.  Then why?  For enjoyment?  To perform?  To disseminate a particular message?  Do not the motivations for one’s exertion of the written word predispose the assemblage; and furthermore, is it possible for a Writer to manipulate who are the beholders?  In a word; yes: if my discourse on Cicero is dryly academic, it seeks out Classicists and Scholars who, in turn, chase it in equal measure.

Pliny the Younger was self-aggrandising and braggadocios, and he included facsimiles of his letters and speeches in epistles to friends and patrones, as he intended for these to be recited; similarly, he assembled people before him for the express purposes of memorialising his discourse.

“…and especially the total solitude of the critic, the Patmos of thought from which he writes, in unconsciousness of any eyes that shall ever read this writing. Could they dream on still, as angels, and not wake to comparisons, and to be flattered! Yet some natures are too good to be spoiled by praise, and wherever the vein of thought reaches down into the profound, there is no danger from vanity.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Character

Emerson was captivated by and devoted to Aeschylus, for example, because he distinguished “a stake in that book,” and because Aeschylus touched that, he impressed Emerson (despite the ironic fact that Aeschylus was a regular competitor in the Great Dionysia!).  I am partial to the representation of Aeschylus, as The Oresetia trilogy is one of my preferred Classical oeuvres.

And thus I contemplate my inducement: I do not boast a considerable retinue; and the superiority of these is friends and family, I am not remunerated financially, there are infinitely more accomplished wordsmiths than me, I am not proffering political or social commentary and I do not presuppose that my stats wills exceed the double digits on any singular day.

Therefore, I must surmise that I write purely for delectation; it makes me happy, and if that joy is detected by even one beholder, I will be content…

A Roman iPad (from the Roman-Germanic Museum in Cologne)

6 thoughts on “…on why I write (or why I do not)

  1. Bravo my friend! This beholder can feel your joy a million miles away in your writings and of which I am also joyful. I applaud you not only for your great intellect, quoting the classics, quoting Emerson, but for being so self aware and sharing your passion in the most humble creative way. xxxx If I may indulge, I would like to share why I write. Mostly for the same reasons as you. It also allows me to express my emotions in a subject chosen or picked randomly in the most purest way. In addition, personally I feel that there is a a bond formed between the writer and the reader for a brief moment; for the time it takes to read the word of the first sentence to the last. That emotional bond is validation for me that in that small span of time the reader and writer are connected at the soul level through the words that are written on the page. To quote your fancy man (Emerson) and perhaps soon to be mine 🙂
    “at some level, the souls of all people are connected, though the precise manner and degree of this connection is not spelled out”
    It is that kindred spirit that I share with the reader that also brings me much joy. You are amazing my friend. Thank you for the opportunity to share and also the opportunity…to WRITE. xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really like your observation that the beholder and author are connected for the brief moment whilst the words are being read, Doreen; and I love even more your paraphrase of Emerson = ) Thank you so much for sharing your reasons for writing and what it means to you; I feel honoured xx


  2. Every now and then, my wife asks me “What the heck are you spending most of your time in front of a screen and a keyboard on?”. After 61+ years of marriage, this has, of course, become a rhetoric question. I have not lost my love for paper books but what a challenging task it is to filter the immense quantity of information on the internet! Only then can one use it to write – both for oneself and in correspondence with other people.
    Reading reactions on webforums, I often visit blogs of followers or commenters out of pure curiosity when I see names – real or represented by avatars – like Miss Ironfist. Thus I read with pleasure your post on this matter, and I fully agree with your friend Doreen’s reaction. Among other things, it reminds me I should read something more from Emerson than a few wonderful essays. So thanks to both of you, have a nice day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a lovely and thoughtful comment; thank you! It would seem you, Doreen and I are a happy triumvirate of writers and readers! I never expect accolades or even traffic, as I write purely for pleasure and reading Emerson makes me happy; thus, it seems a shame not to put forth that same joy; even if only for myself. Have a wonderful day!


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