Friday ∗ 07 Oct 2011

the writing responsibility

because i’ve been thinking about, which is to say struggling with, writing and self-centeredness, this can only be serendipitous: a piece on poetry, but which is really about writing, from mabi david:

To write is to come to an awareness, says Carolyn Forché, which I believe wholeheartedly. I write because it is the way available to me of thinking about the world, of apprehending experience.

Thus is the self implicated in the poem. We must write with vigorous self-reflection and be accountable for every word we put on the page.

When we glorify what we write, harboring illusions of distinction or consequence, we sacrifice self-awareness for ego, and what we write is at once boring, narcissistic, and annoying. At its very least.

At its worst, we fail at our responsibility as writers to consider ourselves limited and fallible, which pushes us to be more rigorous in our analysis. We fail at our task to keep scrutinizing and interrogating all stable sets of beliefs—ours and society’s—no matter how difficult the task or how unpleasant in the service of potentiallyarriving at the Truth.

When we feel so assured of the power and respectability of what we write, what beliefs and attitudes do we preserve and what do we foreclose? Thinking our beliefs more vital and virtuous than those of others who do not share our views, how do we begin to regard differences?

To approach our task as writers with a totalizing, aggressive belief about its capacities, we border possibly on self-aggrandizement and see differences as threats.

We enter a room and light a candle. Someone we don’t know walks in to light another and how is it we think this additional fire diminishes the light in the entire room?

click here for the rest of this short but/and/therefore brilliant piece by mabi.

Posted in: arts and culture, ibang boses, kultura, panitikan

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2 Comments/Pingbacks

  1. sunsh
    October 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    that IS a brilliant piece by mabi.

    i too have been struggling with this myself lately, ins: writing and self-centeredness. and to add to the struggle — i am FAR from writing poetry, or essays like yours. but there is that need always, to write. and so i write. (bahala na!)

    and speaking of writing, i owe you an email.

    • ina
      October 9, 2011 at 8:08 pm

      sunsh! i grew up with the nanay always telling me to just write, keep at it, paulit-ulit, kahit for private consumption lang, as an exercise. of course we grew up when blogs were non-existent and privacy was very clearly just writing in notebooks, but you get what i mean. been deep into this book i’ve had in a folder on my desktop the past year, and idea that’s about that long na rin, haha, and which has been revived by the books that i got from you when you left (all those women talking!) and the fact that once again my thesis defense has been delayed beyond anyone’s control. will send to you when it’s substantial na. :)

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