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Why Write? Especially When Times Are Confused, Tumultuous, and Scary II

In an earlier blog, I wrote about writing as therapy. That was reason # 1. However, that’s not a good enough reason for those of us writing in these times when facing a drunk interlocutor at cocktail party sometime in the not now foreseeable future. “You were writing fiction when the whole world was going down the fucking tubes!” [More about the use and disuse of profanity by writers in a future blog]. Here are some more justifications:

Reason # 2 “In 1966, the writer [Paul Theroux] was in Uganda… It shaped his thinking about travel writing’s imperative to bear witness.”

Stuck in Uganda, Theroux documented how, in a violent government coup, King Freddy escaped with his head and was replaced by the far worse Idi Amin. Theroux tells that it’s the job of writers to document wars, upheavals, cataclysms, and devastating acts of man and nature. He tells of Samuel Pepys diary of the plague in England that killed a quarter of London’s populace.

Reason # 3 And, at least in England: “Coronavirus: Book sales surge as readers seek escapism and education.”

Books, sales of all kinds of books are surging, as ways to pass time, to read what’s long been on a list, as escape, as an alternative to Netflix, as therapy, and to learn. We don’t have to feel bad about writing fiction these days. Perhaps some dreaming, guiltily, of course [more about use and disuse of adverbs in a future blog], of a bit of profiteering.

Feel free to send additional reasons that I’m more than happy to post.

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Diane Greenberg
31. März 2020

This is very cheerful - I think witness literature and poetry is vital and it's wonderful hearing your voice through a blog post as I cannot sit with you for a drink

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