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Why we write (our way out of paper bags)

March 4, 2016

When I was your age my experience with writing fell into several broad categories–writing for school, writing for me, and experiencing writing. “Writing for school” included all the various subjects, assignments, projects, and independent studies which had any kind of written component.  “Writing for me” would have been journaling and maybe some short fiction (just for kicks).  “Experiencing writing” encompassed any way in which I was shaped or changed by reading.  The best way to write is just to write-as much as you can; the second best way to write is to read good writers.

School writing assignments can either be a real slog or something approaching diverting.  I cannot tell you I would have preferred these assignments to a good game of tennis,  but I know for a fact that my writing teachers shaped my world and gave me a skill that has occasionally proved both incisive and medicinal.

My writing teachers tended to be very prescriptive–there is good and bad writing, better and best writing, and it is your job to parse these things out. I do not know whether they ever told us this in high school, but by graduate school we had been told–writing enhances thought.

My private writing through the start of these blogs was a venue for working things out, venting, and memory.  That all remains true with these blogs, only the advent of sites like WordPress has revolutionized the way in which and ease with which we can form and share our written thoughts.

And then there is what we read…

I was immersed in books and read from a very young age if for no other reason than lack of either friends or diversions.  They shaped me and the way I both saw and articulated the world.  Good writing puts meat on the bones of imagination and thought.  Great writing sings hymns–loud, sonorous, eternal.

We write because we have to–either through the will of a teacher or the howl of our own lonely souls, we write.  And then, if we are truly blessed maybe someday someone will come along and read what we have written–something we have written and cry yes! Allowing us in, perhaps to sing the hymn again.


From → homeschool

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