Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Need to Write

Margaret Atwood presents several one liners about her need to write:

To record the world as it is. To set down the past before it is all forgotten.  
To excavate the past because it has been forgotten.
To satisfy my desire for revenge.  
Because I knew I had to keep writing or else I would die. 
Because to write is to take risks and it is only by taking risks that we know we are alive.
To produce order out of chaos. To delight and instruct.
To please myself. To express myself. To express myself beautifully.
To create a perfect work of art. To reward the virtuous and punish the guilty; or – the Marquis de Sade defense, used by ironists – vice versa.
To hold a mirror up to the reader.
To paint a portrait of society and its ills.
To express the unexpressed life of the masses.
To name the hitherto unnamed.
To defind the human spirit and human intergrity and honor.
To thumb my hose at death.
To make money so my children could have shoes.   

Rainer Maria Rilke in his Letters to a Young Poet said, “Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you to write. This above all, ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: Must I write?  Delve into yourself for a deep answer.”

Imagine yourself in an isolated location. Consider Atwood's responses and how you might reply. Use the following or create your own scenario. 

You're at the top of a mountain in a teahouse with food and drink.  You have three days alone. What will you write? 

You have three days on an island with fruit trees, fresh water, and fishing equipment. What will you write?
You find yourself isolated for a day in a hotel room in a city of discomfort. What will you write?

A train takes you across the United States. You can stop where you want and return to continue the journey.  What will you write?

Fly to the land of curiosities and write.

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