I’m doing something totally different today. This afternoon I had a conversation with a fellow writer and poet. We often have philosophical discussions, and this was no exception. I’d like to recreate a small portion of our talk.
Meena: In my little “boxed” way of thinking:
1. Photographers are seekers, first and foremost
2. Graphic artists are messengers
3. Composers are messengers
4. Singers are channels
5. Actors are mirrors
Me: Yep, I agree about actors. Are writers the interpreters?
Meena: 6. Writers, in my mind, are all of the above
7. Philosophers are interpreters
Me: Ah, okay, I can go along with philosophers. So, let me spell this out differently–
Writers are the philosophers who seek, through pictures, to channel messages and hold up mirrors to their readers, so that interpretations of reality can be seen and appreciated, and a future can be built upon that foundation.
Poetry is the perfect medium in its own way. It’s short, lyrical in form and presents a message, philosophical in method and presentation, and gives the reader an entire picture, however short. And there is music in the cadence and rhythm of the lines that bring home the message.
Meena: I like it. That should be your blog post. I think of ghost writers, for example…
Me: I think on some level it is true. Even the most out-there writers, like early King or Koontz, write about people’s fears and what they’re based on. They give an opportunity to imagine the lengths to which those fears can go. I think ghost writers are even truer for the example. They channel so much of their client, the messages they gained while working with that individual, and so on. They may be only reflecting the philosophy of the client, but the wording, phraseology is their own, which makes or breaks the philosophy.
Meena: I suppose as writers we go “I have something to say”… that something is definitely inspired somehow. Poetry is the most compact package as far as writing goes. It also asks a lot of the readers.
Me: Which is what all messages do.
Meena: I mean… it is a push off a cliff compared to the steady rise of a roller coaster before it crashes down. Longer writing is more like the amusement park ride… a longer experience.. requires different elements to sustain it.
Me: But, in truth, the message itself in the longer piece is buried within all the fluff, description, and other plotting elements. The message is tiny and easily contained in one sentence.
Meena: Not always…. that is the skill of the writer
Me: That’s true, but the essential message can be as simple as, “falling for the wrong person can screw up the rest of your life.” The message is only the seed that becomes the tropical flower amid the jungle.
Meena: That may be the surface message… from that line I already anticipate a lesson on regret, second chances. Choices.
Me: Or on salvation, according to the interpretation done by the philosopher.
Meena: exactly… to me all of that is the message… not the one sentence plot headline
Me: Ah, so we have a difference in definition. Isn’t that always the way? One has to define the emphasis of the message before deciding on the interpretation.
And so the discussion continues at a later date. The question to be answered is whether the roles played by the writer do take on the jobs of photographer, designer, composer, etc., and whether definition of the message can only come after its emphasis has been determined.
Everyone who works with words, in whatever capacity, has an opinion on this question. I’m asking all readers to chime in on this issue.
Does the emphasis of the message determine the definition of that message within the text one writes? Also, does the writer wear all the hats described?
Tell me what you think about this. Let me know if you agree, disagree, or wish to remain anonymous.
Have a great week, all. A bientot,
PS: Tomorrow, I will be having an interview with Walt Wojtanik, writer and poet. Be sure to drop by and see what he has to say about verse, choices, and futures.
- Hume and Wittgenstein (manwithoutqualities.com)
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- You are a Writer: So Start Acting Like One by Jeff Goins (Book Review) Reviewed by Tammy (iwokeupyesterday.com)
- Sunday Lit Crit Sermon: Emmeline B. Wells on Young Writers (motleyvision.org)
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