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Writing, Definition, and Roles

From left to right: Plato, Aristotle, Thomas A...

From left to right: Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes, John Locke, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

  1. May 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    A really interesting way to capture the topic… via a conversation! I am with the friend on this one 🙂

    • claudsy
      May 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      I felt it was the only way to really show the thought progression from light conversation to more serious considerations. We all do it, but we don’t think about how the set-up works after we’re finished with it.

      This way, it’s all there, and without a crafty and smart counterpart, such a conversation doesn’t take place often.

      I named you friend, just in case you didn’t want your name bandied about. Guess I should have emblazoned it instead, my friend.

      • May 6, 2012 at 7:25 pm

        My only feedback would have been to bold “Me” and “Friend” so it is easier on the eye to see the conversation taking place.

      • claudsy
        May 6, 2012 at 8:55 pm

        I’m about to take care of that. My problem was that the system kept kicking me off and I was losing stuff right and left. I was lucky to get anything up and readable.

        No worries. It’ll be changed soon.

  2. Veronica Roth
    May 6, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Hi Claudette,
    Can I chime in? As a photographer, writer, artist I’d like to quote Marshal Mcluhan: the medium is the message. When I paint a painting or write a story I’m the medium and what I’m doing is not spreading art so much as spreading an effect. I try to set a trap for the attention of an audience. But it doesn’t much matter what I paint or photograph or write. What is written is nothing compared to the effect of that written piece on the audience and the meaning of it coming from ME mixed with the perceived biases the audience feels about me.

    • claudsy
      May 6, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      Chime away, my young friend.

      With a photographer for a sister, I’m always getting that perspective. Each of her shots reveals something from within her; an attitude, a sense of fun, whatever.

      I can understand and agree that the effect, the impact is the thing, and there’s always some kind of impact, even if it’s adverse. I’ll tell Sis about the trap reference. She’ll be able to relate.

      You’ve stated that beautifully, Veronica. Thank you so much for chiming in. I love hearing the views of others on questions or perspectives that I have. That’s how discussions begin and continue.

      Feel free to chime in anytime. I love have you guys around.

    • May 6, 2012 at 11:54 pm

      Hi Veronica: “I try to set a trap for the attention of an audience”… brilliant!

  3. Poetic Bloomings
    May 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    You two are so wise, but collectively? Whoa!! Great stuff here, friends!

    Marie Elena

    • claudsy
      May 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      Ah, but is it wisdom or mere speculation, my friend, Marie. You should hear us when the discussion goes underground.

      I’m glad you liked, Marie. Sometimes I just gotta have fun. Today was one of those days.

    • May 6, 2012 at 11:58 pm

      Hi Marie: You are too kind… you just got a peek into the hours of dialog I get into with our good friend Claudsy. To be honest, I have to set a timer… I think once we were at it non stop for 4 hours… We promised not to do that to each other afterwards 🙂

      • claudsy
        May 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm

        And we can still manage to kill a couple of hours over a discussion of whether a specific line would be better in the second or the third verse. (Just kidding, folks. We’ve only done that a few times in the past.) Lawzy, what would it be like with all three of us in a three-way discussion.

        Oooo, Meena, we could get the syllable count thing down to a mere whisper of its former self.


      • May 9, 2012 at 12:07 am

        About the syllable count thing… imagine a piece of software that took the text and the poetry form you tried to do and it validated the compliance… Geek brain on overdrive now 🙂

      • claudsy
        May 9, 2012 at 12:33 am

        I’m sure that any good programmer could come up with some algorithmic progression that could do just that, my friend. Regardless, there would be no soul to the finished product. Poet 1, Geek 0.

  4. May 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    I hope you are on Skype! So I have found the place where I can throw about names like Schopenhauer, Bruno and Foucault without having to pay 100s of dollars worth of tuition? How fun is that?

    • claudsy
      May 8, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      I’m afraid that I haven’t as yet gone the way of Skype, Lara. One of these days I’ll manage that little feat, too. You’d be surprised at the kinds of names that get bandied about around here. I’m glad that you’re having fun, too. It makes things so much nicer.


    • May 9, 2012 at 12:09 am

      Lara: You are welcome to join us any time! Then we do not need to make up imaginary friends 🙂

      • May 9, 2012 at 12:11 am

        Hehehe! I have a feeling once my marathon of a blogroll is done you might find me sitting in your parlor…or is that salon?

      • May 9, 2012 at 12:16 am

        That is a marathon of an endeavor that you undertook! Ours has been the experience of sitting out in the back yard on some fine patio set… The shade is just right… by the time we stop talking we notice that the sun is about to set and the night chill had crept in and we did not even notice.

      • May 9, 2012 at 12:25 am

        Tell me about it. I thought I could accomplish it pretty quickly when I set out to do it. But I didn’t like the look of it so I changed formats. This way everyone has a pic, links and a blurb…and a very rough category.

        So you guys are close geographically then. I thought this was all cyber chat.

      • claudsy
        May 9, 2012 at 12:40 am

        We are as close as we choose to be within the valleys of our minds, sweet Lara. We have many patios, views, and meeting places, though none as yet require actual physical relocation.

        As for you blogroll, I’m going to have to take the time this week to study it, and several others, to see just what I’m up against.

        I know that I can’t do a frequent flyer type speed through on over 100 blogs that I need to drop in on. I’ll have to take it slowly and choose just the right ones to drop in on more often.

      • May 9, 2012 at 1:04 am

        Agreed. But I’m learning from them all for now. We will all find our best company to keep.

      • claudsy
        May 9, 2012 at 9:11 am

        Yep, we will, and we’ll make new friends along the way. That’s an even better reason to look in all those nooks and crannies of the blog-o-sphere.

      • May 9, 2012 at 12:41 am

        Lara, Claudsy is in Montana, I am in Oregon… never met the woman but I think she is the coolest thing since sliced bread 🙂

      • May 9, 2012 at 1:05 am

        I’ll have to agree with you on that. I used to live in Joseph, Oregon.

      • claudsy
        May 9, 2012 at 9:12 am

        I can honestly say that I’ve never been to Joseph, but along the 101, oh yeah, several times. Love that drive.

      • May 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm

        Joseph is over by Hells Canyon on the Oregon/Idaho/Washington border. I love the 101 too. Evocative of another era.

      • claudsy
        May 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm

        Found it, Lara. Thank you.

      • claudsy
        May 9, 2012 at 12:37 am

        Such a lovely deck it is, too. I’d hate to think that we’d need to move our pavilion and pennants to another quarter so that we can see that race far better, wouldn’t you, Meena?

      • claudsy
        May 9, 2012 at 12:35 am

        Ah, Lara, I need to run that same marathon, but I think I need fortification before attempting the first lap. I must take it slowly and work up to more than four or five a day. We old folks don’t have the get-up and go than you young fillies do.

      • May 9, 2012 at 1:02 am

        Not that young myself. But I can’t stop the project ’til its done. Things nag at me that way.

      • claudsy
        May 9, 2012 at 9:10 am

        I do know what you mean, Lara. It’s especially true when it’s something for a quicker turn-around. You go, girl.

  5. May 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Reblogged this on Two Voices, One Song and commented:
    Capturing this entry for The Library!.

  1. May 8, 2012 at 12:47 am

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