Friday, October 21, 2005

The Why of the Written Word

After reading this post on Jesse's blog, and the comments following, I was prompted to curiosity about the purpose of writing in general, and my own purpose for writing in particular. Of the latter, I have yet come to no conclusion...of the former, I have...well...only begun to think, and my thoughts in this direction are as yet small(ish).

Of literature....

"Viewed through this medium, our narrative--into which are woven some airy and unsubstantial threads, intermixed with others, twisted out of the commonest stuff of human existence--may seem not widely different from the texture of all our lives."

--Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun

I like that. I think literature ought to provoke thought...and yet also say something. Let us not create without any purpose but to think and to let others' thought progress in any direction from little things we may have said. There ought to be--oughtn't there?--a point, or points, to what we think...should we be aware of them? For once, I am thinking as I speak, rather than waiting to speak until I have thought. This is different, and not altogether pleasing. I have not yet concluded whether it is best to have a distinct purpose to a thought, or merely to let one's perspective infuse the thought so that it may have no specific purpose, but rather a subtle influence. Ought we to reflect life, or to project into it what we see as ultimate ends or certainties or principles? Are we presenting aspects of Truth, of what is essential? Or are we merely drifting in and reporting of and musing upon and analyzing what we presently feel and experience (or have in past felt and experienced)?

Hawthorne seems to say he is merely reflecting life. Yet his portrait-novels (those which I have read) always have a subtle (or not so much subtle) principle behind them. Painted with eloquent artistry, they brilliantly depict humanity and the consequences of sin, the downfall of souls...and redemption. Is this his point, or his viewpoint? Purpose, or perspective? I cannot say.

Neither do I yet know what is mine.

Well, then...

high-pressure thought breaks a vein
and escapes through the late-
night draining
mental effort/exhaustion
Enough. spoken.

Curse this midnight oil. Why does she burn it? What does she want? What could she possibly gain that would profit her more than the sleep she has lost?

All good questions to ponder... and now goodnight.