Saturday, October 19, 2002

question (16 of 100)

Over dinner last night, my friends and I reflected about the nature of stories, and how sometimes it is the story itself that dictates how it flows, where it goes and how it ends – ultimately, even what it is about.

But a more fundamental question that came to my mind, given the nature of the times we live in, was why even bother to write?

People are being murdered by snipers and bombs, by terror both faceless and immediate. So is there any value in your little bits of fiction, your string of poetry, your personal essay?

What purpose does writing serve? What good does it do? What relevance does it have?

Q: Why write?

A: Because we need articulate the incomprehensible horror of things.

Because we need to shout and rage and be heard.

Because we need to escape the irrationality of things beyond our control.

Because writing, as an act of creation, counterbalances the destruction of life, hope and beauty.

Because writing, in any time period, and even more so during this current time, allows analysis and reflection, lends power to the powerless and provides structure to the chaos.

Because even the most modest of writing is better than silence.

Writing, as human expression, need never be justified. It need never be held accountable for its own rationale or point of existence.

It brings its own relevance, because the very act of writing (at that precise moment when ideas transform into words) creates its own significance.

So why write? Why write during these times?

Because we cannot afford to be mute.

Because life demands writing.

Because I believe that words, no matter how small, have the potential to change the world.

One stanza, one paragraph, one word, one mind at a time.


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