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Passions in Poetry

Writing your own Oblivion

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Brad
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0 posted 06-18-2002 05:26 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

This stems from Ron's comments concerning credit. The more I think about it, the more I think a writer's goal insomuch as he or she is a writer is the complete destruction of any association with what he or she has written.

Once something, a phrase or neoligism, has entered the language in such a way that most people no longer know or care where it comes from, you have truly changed the language, you have turned your own language into the language itself.

By doing so you have ever so subtly changed the way people think, the way people act, and you've done this without any of them ever knowing that they are influenced by you (albeit a few crusty old academics might know but that's merely academic, right?). If they know they were influenced, an immediate distance would be created and, through that, a certain separation between your words and their mind.

If they don't know, they won't feel that separation.

Anything less would be the quest for mere fame or money, writing would be a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Of course, I also think have writers have tremendous egos so how do I square that?

I think it's obvious, really, in the distinction between the need to change things and the need to be seen making those changes. The former is a sign of confidence and the latter is one of insecurity.

Unfortunately, I think writers are generally subject to extremes of both. So, if you're a writer then it just goes with the territory that you want both fame and money and, at the same time, the comfort of anonymity.

But I could be wrong.     
Toad
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1 posted 06-18-2002 03:39 PM       View Profile for Toad   Email Toad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Toad


quote:
The more I think about it, the more I think a writer's goal insomuch as he or she is a writer is the complete destruction of any association with what he or she has written.


Brad

Iíd be considered by anyone who knows me as stupid if I didnít agree with this.  

Iím not convinced however that anonymity while changing is the driving force that makes writers write nor is the quest to be recognised as the changer the reason. Itís tempting to draw a line down the middle and choose a little bit of both but even that doesnít seem quite right, Iím going to plump for a vague reason Ė writers write because they want or need to, fame and change are just side effects.

Some writers become famous and have a real impact, most never get past mediocrity and anonymity (hello Toad) very few of either group stop writing by choice whatever happens, mainly because they want or need to write.

Thanks for the chance to read and reply
Ron
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2 posted 06-18-2002 09:39 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Sorry, Brad, but I think you're trying to draw generalities rather than conclusions. What you say is certainly true for some writers. And some politicians. And some scientists. And a whole bunch of advertising people. Ad infinitum.

I doubt any two writers write for the same reasons and I'm absolutely sure that no single writer writes for just a single reason. (Please don't ask me to say that three times fast!)

I'm more interested, I think, in exploring some of your tangential points.

There seems to be a hidden assumption that changing the language is necessarily a good thing. Underlying that is the assumption there's a "need to change things" inherent in this thing we do. I see a basis for those assumptions, but think maybe they're worth exploring more deeply. Do all writers, or most writers - or even a lot of writers - really want to change the world?

I also think it would be interesting to explore what seems to be a negative view of "mere" fame and money. Is that quest necessarily a bad thing?


serenity blaze
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3 posted 06-19-2002 02:15 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

And...tsk...ducking again, but I think "buzz words" are too easily written--I would like to read some "buzz" that had reverberation---and? I find that RARE.
Brad
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4 posted 06-19-2002 03:30 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Well, I think it was Harlan Ellison who said writers write from a deep sense of dissatisfaction with the world as it is. I thought the whole part about changing the world was more of a tautology than anything else (otherwise, we'd all be striving to be xerox machines).

But if I'm guilty of throwing around generalities, it's still better, I think, than throwing out statements that stop conversations like people write for different reasons. Where does that get us? It's quite similar, in fact, to statements like, "Who's to say what good poetry is?"

Instead of stating these points again and again, why not take the risk and start answering them: what is writing and why do people write?

I don't mean to start a sound bite thread where everyone jumps in and give their one sentence answers as if the questions were some kind of multiple choice quiz, but I do think you can start from a few basic premises and wind up with some strange developments.

My premises here were that people often talk about writing as an end in itself, they write to write. Well, okay, buy a notebook and a pen and draw cute little squiggly lines all day long. But that's not quite what people mean, is it?

So, what do they mean?

serenity blaze
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5 posted 06-19-2002 03:45 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

NO....I am one of those---and I do not write just to write---I buy those marble notebooks and burn them....

(just ask the neighbors...)

I write these things, to get them out of me...I WRITE, in hopes, that writing is SURGERY.... tsk...truly Brad, I have no more grandiose intention.
serenity blaze
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6 posted 06-19-2002 03:49 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

and should you type "GOOD THING"

I am coming after you!!!
serenity blaze
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7 posted 06-19-2002 09:24 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

*Brad hates me*
Toad
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8 posted 06-19-2002 06:43 PM       View Profile for Toad   Email Toad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Toad

Brad

quote:
My premises here were that people often talk about writing as an end in itself, they write to write. Well, okay, buy a notebook and a pen and draw cute little squiggly lines all day long. But that's not quite what people mean, is it?


Ok I hold my hand up, perhaps vagueness isnít the way to go, and perhaps it might be worthwhile digging a little deeper. I, like Ron it seems, still believe youíll end up with a myriad of reasons as to why people write or, as you said yourself a series of sound-bites as diverse as the people that post them.

I know it's not what you want but here's mine anyway.

Having thought about it for a while the best single reason I can come up with that satisfies, to any degree, the possibilities is competition. By competition I donít mean simply writer versus writer, although that does have a part to play, I mean competition against language and against the expectations of your own capabilities. The closest analogy would be a golfer playing a round of golf with language as the course and success measured against your last score (previous written work), par for the course (others peoples work) and your expected score.

Some golfers are really good at the game and people pay a lot to see them play these players are the ones that make the changes in how the game is played. Others arenít so good but theyíre still out there every weekend chipping away to reach their own personal goals. Sometimes there are crowds cheering and clapping you on and that can be reward in itself but even without the crowd the Sunday golfer will still walk the course alone in search of that elusive birdie or that hole in one, when the only competition is his own expectations.

I believe therefore that writing is a competition where the opponent can be yourself, other writers or even language itself. The rewards can be financial, simple self-satisfaction or general recognition by your peers, anonymity and fame are potential side effects but competition is the driving force.

The downside is that I need a handicap of 52 to get anywhere near par.
Brad
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9 posted 06-19-2002 07:11 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Serenity,

But you make the connection between surgery and writing. Is being a surgeon not in itself a grandiose intention? Is it not trying to change the world?

You know, I've gotten in trouble for this before so I should have known better, but I'm always a bit confused when people take 'to change the world' to mean that you want to be a politician, a revolutionary, or whatever. Perhaps if I said, "change some part, some aspect of the world," it might be clearer?

Ah, but I was also trying to be gently facetious here, I was trying to poke fun at those who say, "I write to write" and trying to simply draw out the implications of what that means.

Of the three comments so far, one says writing is a form of addiction, "I have to write", one says, "it's impossible to determine because people write for different and for multiple reasons", and one says, "I write to get it out". The first and third comments implicity recognize that writing has power (as a drug and as a surgeon), the second, Ron's, avoids the question altogether (but given that Ron has probably had so many similar conversations that he's just bored with the whole thing).

But the first and third comments neither attempt to describe the reasons behind that power nor seem concerned with why writing as opposed to something else has that power for you or for toad. We have a pretty good idea of why drugs have power, why surgeons have power, but we avoid the question when it comes to writing; I'm tempted to say that there's almost a fear of asking that question.

But if it is a fear, where does it come from? If you believe, as I do, that as much as we speak a language, language speaks us, a kind of answer presents itself: writing (more on what I specifically mean by this later) presents both the power to control language and the fear that we are being controlled by language. Yet, this fear has been turned upside down (or perhaps it's something I've touched on in a recent poem --that we, in fact, want to be controlled -- but that's just another way of saying the same thing, isn't it? A fear of responsibility.). This fear of language or of a responsibility to language is now exalted as a release in your case (I have to get this stuff outside my self) or as compulsory (It's like breathing, I have to write).  

It's not my fault, it's just something I have to do.

A kind of rejection of self, is it not?

I'm not criticizing you, Serenity, nor am I criticizing toad. I did criticize Ron slightly but I think I understand why he said what he said. I want to see, however, if we can take this further, if we can find a way of looking at this thing that makes it clearer for those already interested in it and, as a result, allow them to formulate clearer goals for what they want to achieve.

I'll stop here for the moment but there's a lot more to say. I will say that for those who simply shrug their shoulders and say, "Ah, hell, I just write," I don't blame you, but I want to explore why you feel the need to say that.

How would you feel about a doctor who said, "Ah, hell, I just operate."
Brad
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10 posted 06-19-2002 09:13 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Toad,

I like the analogy, but suspect that, "Ah, hell, I just golf" is not a phrase commonly used. I suspect the conversation simply doesn't come up. Why? Well, I can think of two reasons:

1. The rules of golf are well-established. If you play golf, you play by those rules; if you don't, you're not playing golf. This gives an 'objective' position from which to judge others and yourself. Writing doesn't have this same set of rules (tendencies, yes, but not rules). Writing creates the initial illusion of 'I can do anything I want' and I think the wildly different reactions to 'Geez, you're a bad golfer' and 'Geez, this is a bad poem' are symptoms of that distinction. Interestingly enough, while I think most people would consider writing a more noble pursuit than golf, their complaints almost always allude to the fact that writing isn't enough like golf.

2. There are very few people who would deny the importance of technique in golf (This can be shown by the surprise people have when someone with poor technique still gets the job done). But technique in writing is almost always deemphasized to the meaning. It's not how I say it, it's what I say that matters. In the competition model you bring up, consistently getting the ball in the hole and techinique are practically synonymous, are they not? The goal, again, is clear in golf, it is not always clear in writing.

I think people hide behind that ambiguity.

Okay, I'm not a golfer but I have hit the ball right a couple of times, and I can certainly see the quest to get it right again. But (the very few times) I have gotten it right, it wasn't my conscious thought that did it, it just 'sort of happened' and isn't that what many people want when it comes to writing? In this sense, I see this 'sort of happening' as roughly the same thing in both writing and golf -- is it the quest to control the uncontrollable or to be controlled?

This is something Maurice Blanchot talks about. That in the act of writing, he says, he himself is not there.

Okay, I realize I've gone off on a number of different tangents (and still haven't touched on some of the other tangents that Ron brought up). I have no idea if I can bring everything together but it's going to be fun trying.

Brad  
serenity blaze
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11 posted 06-19-2002 11:21 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

By surgery? I did not mean that my writing had some sort of noble healing effect on OTHERS...I am a very self indulgent sort of person (shocking revelation, that, eh?) No...perhaps surgery was the wrong analogy. I just thought it nicer than, say, um--PUKING...sigh...

I'm gonna go to bed AT NIGHT for once...check with ya tomorrow--glad ya don't hate me!
Ron
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12 posted 06-20-2002 06:22 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

So many bases to touch, so little time.


Toad, I suspect, is talking about the human desire to excel, which I think transcends the desire to write. We enjoy doing things we feel we do well, whether that be golf or writing, and that leads us to want to do it even better. Makes sense, in a human sort of way. If doing something well makes us feel good, doing it better will make us feel MORE good. More is always desirable.

I have no doubt this is a valid reason for writing, and I'm sure Toad gave it some serious thought. But even if it explains why he writes, it doesn't explain why he chose writing instead of golf. The desire to compete and excel, I think, applies to most human enterprises (maybe all?).

Karen's declared reason for writing is closer to my own reasons, though I would probably tend to be less romantic and more pragmatic. Or maybe I just disagree with the metaphor? Surgeons typically cut out and discard unwanted parts, and I don't necessarily feel that's the role of the writer. More on that, I guess, in a minute.


I suspect writing is little different than painting, photography, programming, math, woodworking, or even gardening (my latest obsession). Each is a way to create something that didn't previously exist. That, too, I think is a basic human desire. It may well be what God meant when he told us man was created in His image. I'm sure I didn't get my belly button and receding hairline so I could look like God, so it has to be something a bit more fundamental. And, like the story of Genesis, I think most human beings feel an overwhelming and life-long need to be creative.

Why writing? Sadly, for many, I think they turn to writing because of early exposure and because it seems easy.

A bad painter recognizes they're bad pretty quickly. A bad writer, however, often doesn't realize how bad they are until they've become much better. At which point they keep going - because they don't know they're still pretty bad and probably won't until they again get better. While that's also true of other arts (I've seen some pretty miserable painters), writing seems to be far more subjective. Brad touched on this, I think, when he talked about the strict rules of golf versus the much more nebulous rules of writing. No one can ever be a better writer than they are a reader, and if they don't see "it" in the work of others, they won't see the lack of it in their own. So, at least for a time, writing often seems an easy way to fulfill our creative drive.

Perhaps that's a blessing, though. I spent much more time drawing and painting as a child than I ever spent writing. I went to college and studied commercial art for two years. But, when I discovered and truly understood the genius that was Picasso, I changed my major to business. I knew I could NEVER shine that brightly, and while I didn't give up my art, neither did I ever again pursue it with the same fervor. I suspect if I really understood writing, in the same way I did Picasso, I'd probably spend a lot more time in the garden. My ignorance is both my salvation and perhaps the only path to less ignorance.

(That's why I believe we shouldn't beat other writers over the head with their own ineptitude. We should, when asked, show them just enough to move them along their path, but never so much as to make the path look ugly and impassable. It is ugly. It is impassable. Most of us don't need to know that yet. At the risk of mixing metaphors, writers juggle a thousand balls simultaneously, and it's inevitable that some will fall. Standing to the side, it's easy to see the balls at the writer's feet. But the writer can't afford to look down. Not yet, not until keeping those other balls in the air become second nature.)


Now, having identified what I think are a few basic human needs that relate to writing, I have to admit that "changing the world" probably isn't one of them. I don't even think it's possible. Of course, the term is a vague one, and maybe we're not even talking about the same thing. So let me clarify a little.

I think we can, and at times should, "rearrange" the world. We determine those things we think are "good" and do what we can to multiply them. Similarly, we minimize the things we see as "bad." In that sense, we make the world different, but then again, that's almost a definition of living. We make the world different by our very existence. Changing the world in the greater sense, in the sense Brad uses the phrase, implies more, I think, than simple difference. And that's where I run into problems. I don't think we can ever bring out anything, either in the world or in people, that doesn't already exist. At best, we can "rearrange" things.

Even then, I don't think we can rearrange the world directly through words. Indirectly, perhaps, but not directly. We maximize the good and minimize the bad by action and example. By doing it, not by talking about it. If we're lucky, if we work hard at it, if we really believe it's important, our words can become a reflection of our example and impact more people than otherwise possible. But that's it. The words only reflect the light, they never cast it.


Brad, I think conversation-stoppers often have less to do with the answers than with the questions. Your original premise questioned the goals of a writer, and that led me to the only answer I know. We have many different goals, many different reasons for writing (and our goals and reasons don't always coincide). To really pursue the conversation further than that, I think we need to move from the general to the specific. We need to focus not on writers, but on one particular facet of writing.

Should writers attempt to influence the language and, if so, should they distance themselves in order to further enhance that influence?

I think it's inevitable that writers WILL influence the language, but I suspect (with no supporting evidence) that it's a mistake to try doing it intentionally. Society, and by extension the language that connects individuals into a society, is too complex (chaotic) to ever fully understand. Injecting our influence may seem like a good idea, but I seriously question whether anyone has the wisdom or insight to understand the ultimate repercussions. If language tempers thought, as you and I both believe it does, then the thoughts of a single writer are but small pieces of a much larger puzzle. And so should they remain.

What you are suggesting, I think, has a parallel in the "Politically Correct" movement discussed in other threads. Nigger is a nasty word. But the minute we outlaw if from our language, in a very valid attempt to outlaw it from human thought, we open the door for outlawing far more. I agree one hundred percent with the principles behind the PC movement, but have seen very little wisdom in its implementation. Controlling the language, whether through activists or writers, is a very dangerous thing.

Fortunately, neither activists nor writers have that power. You may never again hear nigger spoken in the boardroom, but it remains rampant on the streets. Society accepts the changes IT wants, and only very slowly. Individuals may influence, but rarely control, and I personally believe attempts to do so carry grave risk, a risk to the individual's integrity when they fail, coupled with a risk to society should they ever succeed.

And yet, in spite of that, writers unintentionally influence our language and thoughts all the time. Socrates almost single-handedly shaped Western civilization, Shakespeare's words have become common English phrases, and the Big Brother world of Huxley has become a backdrop for modern society that we all recognize, understand, and fear. Such influence is inevitable.

That kind of influence would be far more dangerous, though, were we unable to return to the original sources for a deeper understanding of what the writer really meant. Anonymity is another word for lost knowledge. If the writer is seeking power, disassociation makes a warped kind of sense because it severs any link to questioning the original words. Personally, I don't think that is the goal of writing. That's the goal of propaganda. This also, I think, ties to my earlier point in another thread about the impossibility of separating credit and responsibility.


And, yes, credit for a writer's work is occasionally going to include some of that much maligned fame and riches. But that's okay, too.

Fame and riches for the writer is much the same as tenure for the professor. Both provide a very necessary freedom to take risks, to sometimes march to a different beat than is expected. The writer needs that. The professor needs that. And society, I think, very much needs that.

Of course, not all writers take advantage of that freedom. Too many write the same story over and over, constantly trying to relive their first success. One of the things that most impresses me about Stephen King is not his writing (mediocre), not his story-telling (much, much better), but rather his willingness to step outside his past successes and try something wildly different. He can do that, and still carry a phenomenal audience, only because of his fame.

Those who write so they can be rich and famous are doomed to failure. Those who want to be rich and famous so they can write have a chance. And, personally, I think that's the way it should be.


Maybe Ellison was right, but I think the sense of dissatisfaction he described can surface in different ways. For me, writing has always been less about changing the world than about explaining it. Sometimes, I try to explain it to others, but usually I'm trying to explain it to myself. I think maybe this is the similarly Karen and I share, though I can't really liken the process to surgery (expect perhaps the exploratory kind).

Life has this nasty tendency of happening too fast for easy analysis. Every Big Event in our lives should be followed by an intermission, but that's rarely what happens. Instead, the curtain is always up, and it seems like we're never given the chance to learn our lines for the last act, let alone for the next. And for some of us, at least for the greater portion of our life, every act is a cliff-hanger that propels us at break-neck speed into the next act.

Words come more slowly. They give me the chance to relive pieces of my life in slow motion, with more thought and reflection than was possible in the living moment, and when I get it just right, those words can bring new understanding. I can see not only what happened, which is usually all that life gives us time to see, but also WHY it happened. And when the light is shining its brightest, I feel I can extrapolate that understanding into the might-have-been's and the yet-to-be's.

Understanding people and their motivations brings me satisfaction. Tracing a line between cause and effect brings me pleasure. Like Toad, I continually try to improve my efforts, in the hope such improvement will lead to greater satisfaction and pleasure. Like Karen, my focus remains on my own life, though often hidden well within the province of fiction, and the impact of my words is an internal force. Much of what I write is never shared, and I would probably be largely happy with that notebook, pen, and lots of cute little squiggly lines. (We should note, I think, that our reasons for writing and our reasons for sharing can be very different creatures.) Like Brad, I believe language represents a power and responsibility, and like Brad, I dislike ambiguity.


Maybe changing the world is a good reason to write for some. But not for me. It would take a heart far stronger than mine to withstand the inevitable failures, and shoulders far wider than mine to bear any possible success. I find the struggle to change just myself, undertaken largely through written explorations, more than sufficient to occupy the remainder of my life.
Brad
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13 posted 06-22-2002 06:11 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Not even sure where to begin now. When in doubt, I'll use someone else's words:

"elements of what we call 'language' or 'mind' penetrate so deeply into what we call 'reality' that the very project of representing ourselves as 'mappers' of something 'language-independent' is fatally compromised from the start. Like Relatavism, Realism is an impossible attempt to view the world from Nowhere."

Hilary Putnam, "Reality with a Human Face", p. 28.

Why is this important?

Well, you just have to wait for that one.
Toad
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14 posted 06-22-2002 08:24 PM       View Profile for Toad   Email Toad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Toad

Brad

I havenít read much of Mr Putnamís work, I keep my brain in a vat most of the time, but isnít he overlooking or perhaps ignoring a rather large point? The reality described by language is our reference to the surrounding world, regardless of whether the perceived description or explanation bears any relationship to our actual surroundings it remains the only reality we have. Language does not create reality language describes our perception of reality, whether that reality is flawed has no relevance.

Letís say for instance that the colour green is in fact two colours green and blimth, being unable to recognise or distinguish green from blimth isnít a failure of language or a failure to describe our reality Ė blimth doesnít, nor ever will, exist as far as we are concerned. The absence of blimth therefore does not lesson our reality, the absence of blimth from our language describes our reality perfectly.

Far from viewing the world from nowhere language allows us to describe the world from somewhere, namely the human perspective.

Or have I once again failed to grasp the correct end of the stick?
Ron
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15 posted 06-22-2002 10:02 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Looking forward to seeing where you intend to go with that, Brad. There's little danger anyone will ever accuse you of being obvious.
Brad
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16 posted 06-22-2002 10:13 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Toad,

I think you and Putnam are in agreement. I quoted him here because I think Ron was distinguishing between writing and real life (in 'to explain' or 'to reflect'), and I want to muddy up the waters a bit.  When people do this, they almost always subordinate writing to real life and I think that's the wrong way to go (as someone who recommended a novel by Michael Chrichton to me once because, you know, it was 'true'.   )

If we see language and the real world as indissoubly linked for precisely the reasons you gave, we can also see writing in that same light. Now, by this I certainly don't mean to privilege writing over something else (as in 'Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world' -- as Shelly put it), but at the same time I don't think we should privilege something else over writing.

This also gives me a chance to explain my phrase "writers insomuch as they are writers" -- I wasn't very clear there but what I was trying to get at was the act itself, not the reason for the act. A writer is someone who writes but I was trying to distinguish between someone who writes a weekly grocery list and someone who gains pleasure from the manipulation of a language.

Perhaps I was being too snobby here but that was my starting point -- a lot of people write but not all are writers. Note that this particular motivation does not invite an assement of quality. Motivation is completely irrelevant to the quality of the work in my view.

Well almost.

But that still leaves the question of why I also assumed that writers would necessarily be concerned with others, why the distinction between writing and sharing as Ron put it is one that I can, to some extent, combine.

I don't know if I've gotten it right here but I think that distinction is muddied when we remember that we aren't talking about random symbols but the manipulation of a semantic system.    

[This message has been edited by Brad (06-23-2002 01:54 AM).]

serenity blaze
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17 posted 06-23-2002 01:06 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

"Perhaps I was being too snobby here but that was my starting point -- a lot of people write but not all are writers."

And babies? Generally crawl before they walk.

ah...so here it is...

my 10,000th post, for YOU, BRAD!!!
http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum70/HTML/000756.html


Not sure if it proves your point or mine, but it better explains my intent--than, sigh..writing about writing?

[This message has been edited by serenity (06-23-2002 03:39 AM).]

serenity blaze
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18 posted 06-23-2002 04:16 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

k--that done? Now...

smiling--didn't mean that as self-promo--more as explanation. I disagree that writers of "serious import" re-invent language--I do not believe, for example, that Shakespeare, re-invented anything--I think he simply wrote commonalities in uncommonly great language.
He expressed the universal in language so strong, as to be adapted by those who felt the resonance of truth within his writings. (Much as YOU---smile)

"When in doubt, I'll use someone else's words"

Again, with all the humor of a struggling being, I say, I will use "the beads" of others, as it is all I have, but they MUST be re-strung, to suit ME. If others find it pleasing, well, that's great and gratifying, and makes me feel less lonely--but if they don't? *shrug* It's not going to make me thread my needle any other way.

[This message has been edited by serenity (06-23-2002 04:18 AM).]

Toad
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since 06-16-2002
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19 posted 06-23-2002 05:54 AM       View Profile for Toad   Email Toad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Toad

Brad

Iím not sure I agree with Putnam, Iím not even sure Putnam agrees with Putnam if his early beliefs in functionalism are anything to go by.  

I think my point of disagreement is one of application, Putnam professes that man, using language as a tool, has set himself up to be a mapper of something language independent. This assumption splits the real from the imagined and claims that language can only describe the latter, which produces a necessary and expected failure. I believe Putnam is one split short of the truth, if you accept that our perceived reality, sans blinth, is to all intents and purposes the only reality that we can or will ever know then actual reality can be disregarded. Once free from the restrictions of a realty we can never know you can reapply Putnams theory to perceived reality and split it neatly into the real (however false) and the imagined. Language describes both the real and the imagined perfectly in this model, oddly the ability to describe the imagined is where Putnam came in.

How does that help us investigate writing?

If reality (our perceived version) can be split into two segments, real and imagined it is also possible to split our use of language along similar lines  (your attempt to muddy the waters Brad had an opposite effect at this point). People who write as a means to communicate and describe the real are not Writers in the artistic sense. True Writers, regardless of the quality of what they write are communicators of thought or the imagined, the ĎInternal Realismí label used by Putnam would fit here just as well.

The natural urge is to call these two forms of writing fiction and non-fiction but my gut feeling is that that may be a mistake, sometimes even non-fiction contains enough embellishments to blur such a distinction, poetry proves this point.

Given the tool, language, and the objects real or imagined it only requires the spark of reason to explain why people write. Perhaps it is simply an attempt to communicate, on one level descriptions of the real (however false) and on another descriptions of the imagined.

Serenity

quote:
And babies? Generally crawl before they walk.


I think thatís why Brad discounted quality, the classification of Writers as communicators of thought segregates the list makers from the poets regardless of their level of expertise. Babies that crawl and those that walk still fall into the category of babies in the same way as bad poets and good poets are still poets. (Well almost)

I have an overriding urge to delete that last passage having suddenly been struck with the thought that you may mean that one type of writing proceeds another creating a necessary evolution between the two.

Maybe later  

[This message has been edited by Toad (06-23-2002 06:11 AM).]

serenity blaze
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20 posted 06-23-2002 06:09 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I know, Toad, I was not trying to be unfair by quoting Brad out of context--tone is hard to type!

I simply meant to point out, that I, personally find charm in many expressions of writing...

and never meant to assume anyone's taste in that matter. my thinking? is a bit like I am learning the alphabet in language---I tend to make obscure points--to my own disadvantage, I admit...um, it WOULD be a disadvantage, if this were a contest that is...

(IZZIT? )
serenity blaze
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21 posted 06-23-2002 06:18 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

*chuckle to Toad*

I'll see yer edit, and raise ya TWO!!!
Toad
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since 06-16-2002
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22 posted 06-23-2002 06:21 AM       View Profile for Toad   Email Toad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Toad


Perhaps writing is a contest but thereís only ever one competitor Ė the writer.

I missed an s from contain(s) and my fear of losing took over.
serenity blaze
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since 02-02-2000
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23 posted 06-23-2002 06:24 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

(serenity enters, places a simple daisy on stage, and exits....backwards--SHE WAS BORN THAT WAY)

stay tuned...until tomorrow

Toad
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since 06-16-2002
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24 posted 06-23-2002 06:32 AM       View Profile for Toad   Email Toad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Toad


Craig enters picks a daisy from the stage and tries to write the best poem ever written about daisies and stages, after the first attempt he tries again and then again and again. Every attempt is slightly better than the last but still a complete failure Ė HE WAS BORN THAT WAY.
 
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