Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Adam Wan

Why do we write?

Do we wish to escape into another world? Do we wish to release ourselves and our feelings? Do we wish to gain money and fame or status? Or do we wish to win awards, like the Booker or the Nobel Prize, and to be remembered in history? To have our names there in history books and textbooks to come? Or, maybe, we wish to have our writings and our ideas and feelings survive and live on, like our children or legacy, to go on and beyond even after our death and descent into oblivion?

It is a question that bears different meanings to different individuals; that bears, like a hat-stand, countless different ideas and opinions, each meaning something to one and nothing to the other, with some even warring, whether in mind or words or actions, for what they think is the true answer to this question. To some, the question itself may cause controversy as people take sides and yell at one another, whether sensible or senseless, derived from a bitter feeling towards the other as if they deserved to be banished from their reality for the sole reason of having a different opinion from themselves. Some war for simplicity, others for the idea that prose or literature or simply writing should make people think; one would attack the other just for writing something beyond their understanding and comprehension, leaving them in frustration and utter disgust as they scream from the top of their lungs for the piece they read to go ‘to the flames;’ while others, on the side barricading the pieces those wish to burn for being so difficult, wail and trample over the books of those who hold them high in their regards, holding high those pieces with short, simple sentences and easily understood language and prose, the supposed elite wishing to show them all their superficial superiority in mocking and discoursing in derision with those who think the writings they read every single day are hard and difficult to the extreme. And then there are those who yell and call literature and literary fiction boring and their writers snobbish elites, and those in the camp shaking their heads at the faction favoring and upholding popular fiction, saying what the other writes means nothing and bears not any literary merit, thus discarding them from lists of elite awards as a sign of their rejection.

Nevertheless, the question remains subjective, and it has always been; one may believe that writing is to make others happy and to give them joy and shelter from the realities of the world, while the other may believe in upholding social justice and overthrowing the established order in order to instate the laws and rights people deserve — and both would be correct. And yet people create still these arbitrary walls dividing them into factions that existed solely on ideas and concepts that oppose the other camp’s ideals; in the end, causing each other to the far ends of the world all because they wish to win and beat the other for reasons that do not benefit humanity.

The stance I take on this situation is my own as I and only I decide what I do and why I do it. But of course, the question of why I write wasn’t something I pursuit constantly, the idea clear from the very beginning; in the beginning, I just wanted to. And to me, that’s reason enough back then. Besides, one doesn’t need a logical reason to like something; reason shouldn’t be discussed in such a formal and logical way when it comes to certain things. But of course, the idea of why I write slowly became clearer and clearer as I continued writing, and eventually, I found who I am, right now, as a writer. I am a writer who illuminates the little things lost in the dark. I write about the little things, about time, about the fragility of beauty and of moments and memories, of youth, of friendship and relationships, of meaning and heart and emotion, but most importantly, humanity. I am a literary writer, not because I wish to decry and defame those who write what they want, if what they want is popular or genre fiction (this very categorization an arbitrary line as well), but because it’s my wish to write with meaning and heart, with attention to detail, to every moment, to slow down and experience things with my characters, with them as people, as lovely as they are, and to celebrate humanity. It is through prose, through my voice and rhythm, through syntax and cadence and sound and movement and flow, that I express myself, my true self, at heart. Of course, new writers — bearing not yet a feel for the winds and moving waters of their hearts — need to be guided at first; but if they are interested in style, in the expression of their hearts’ truest feelings, in sharing them, even if it mean breaking the sea of ice within, the writer must venture on their own: a writer who wishes so must not follow what the masters say, because no one is good enough to give you advice, and no one has the right to tell you who to be — no one knows the shape of your heart besides you, and you have to find the shapeless voice within if you want to be yourself in writing.

Still, if anything, the reasons I write, and the reason writing is important to me specifically, and at least to some degree, to us, is because we want to share our emotions and feelings so others could see, so they could feel them too; to expose the truth and realities we individually face; and, especially for me, to celebrate humanity and who we are and what we do and think and feel, as humans.

And with that, I bid you farewell.


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