Writing To Remember

Photo credit: Shutter Stock Images

WHEN someone finds out that I’m a writer, the first question they usually ask is: “what exactly do you write?” And that question has been sticking out like a sore thumb lately because I never know how to answer it… I never put much thought into that topic ironically, because I’ve always just been a writer. I’m a very impulsive artist. That characteristic definitely stretches into my literary conquests as well. I’m all over the place. I’m almost obsessive-compulsive about not being tied down to a certain label or style of art. I feel drawn in by an assortment of topics, and I just write how I feel. I don’t like saying that I’m a certain anything, actually, because I don’t want to exclude anything.

I’m all over the place.

I’m almost obsessive-compulsive about not being tied down to a certain label or style of art. I feel drawn in by an assortment of topics, and I just write how I feel. I don’t like saying that I’m a certain anything, actually, because I don’t want to exclude anything.

I have go-to categories or triggers, which always bring on inspiration for me to write more. So if I’m in a slump, I just read a lot of books. After I read only a few pages, I usually have to stop and write down something that came to mind in those few moments. It is also a constant distraction… Sometimes I don’t finish a book for months because I move onto my own writing. It’s hard to suppress my thoughts, and I forget things pretty easily when I’m really in my zone.

I’m reminded of the Greek philosopher who never wrote anything down in his whole life. He actually discouraged it. Funny if you think about it — a philosopher who denounces writing? Something which we all do in order to learn new things… Seems pretty odd. Everything we know about him today was actually written down by his students — most notably was Plato. I’m talking about the great Socrates, who once said:

And now, since you are the father of writing, your affection for it has made you describe its effects as the opposite of what they really are. In fact, it will introduce forgetfulness into the soul of those who learn it: they will not practice using their memory because they will put their trust in writing, which is external and depends on signs that belong to others, instead of trying to remember from the inside, completely on their own. You have not discovered a potion for remembering, but for reminding; you provide your students with the appearance of wisdom, not with its reality. Your invention will enable them to hear many things without being properly taught, and they will imagine that they have come to know much while for the most part they will know nothing. And they will be difficult to get along with, since they will merely appear to be wise instead of really being so.

What do I say to those who ask me what exactly do I write? I tell them that I really don’t know, and honestly, I don’t care to think about it too much. I just write whatever is important to me at the time, and who knows — maybe I’m just writing things down to remember.♦♦

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