By | Saturday, June 28, 2008 2 comments
I've been thinking a lot lately about the apparent human need to record one's thoughts. Or maybe the goal is to declare one's existence. Or am I mistaken? Might it be a "need" to communicate, not a need to record?

Blogging is, of course, today's obvious example. In a bygone age it was writing in a diary or a journal. Going back further, could one claim cave paintings as part of the same inherent drive?

Writing for profit (literature and journalism) feel like something different, though having met many writers, it is clear to me that the internal need to write drove these people to careers in writing, and, for most it is that need to write, more than the profit motive, that keeps them in the field.

I was sitting in Greens Restaurant in San Francisco earlier this week trying to "eat with intention," when these thoughts came unbidden into my mind. I wanted to write them down, which is one of the reasons that I started this blog. Why did I want to commit my thoughts to "the page?" Having no idea who might read this, or if it will ever be read (given the millions of blogs in the world,) it seems likely to be more about the writing and less about the communication. Coincidentally, the next night I was at a dinner party for writers. A non-writer spouse-attendee asked me why I write. My response was that I mostly write to get things out of my head so that I don't have to think about them anymore. This was not a flip answer. My thoughts have a tendency to spin and spiral inside my uncarved block until I get them the hell out of there.

I wonder about people who are illiterate. Do they feel a desire to write down their thoughts? Does being illiterate make that a non-option, so they don't even think about it? Does illiteracy lead in any way to graffiti? Graffiti can certainly be a creative expression, but more often it feels to me more like an expression of existence, "I was here." I'd be curious to see if there is any statistical relationship between illiteracy and graffiti. Perhaps in my next lifetime (or the one after that,) I'll need to plan on being a sociologist.
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  1. Sending the notification out to your mailing list ensured that someone would read your blog.

    It's a little weird how unheralded blogs get read.

  2. Roland Topor, author of "The Tenant" said that he only wrote for money, having the thoughts was good enough for him.


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