As I sit here listening to music, thinking about what my next blog post should be about, I could not but help coming back to the same question. What makes a good writer? To some this may seem like an easy inquiry to respond to; clearly a good writer has strong rhetorical skills in their language, and they can relate well to their audience.
Yet, as I run through my triple digit playlist of my favorite hip-hop artist, J. Cole, I wonder if others would consider him a strong writer. I think Cole is a lyrical genius, and brings more to the table than the common rapper who talks about how many girls he has fornicated, or how many drugs he does. But, while I would consider J. Cole a superstar in the lyrical game, I am sure that a large number absolutely would not, including my very own father. It is completely baffling to me that he never wants to bump the bass and jam with me on the sparse car rides we now enjoy together. While that may be a tad facetious, I wondered why he immediately discounted any hip-hop as trashy music. I refrained from making a comment about how boring his O.A.R. obsession, and asked him to explain his thoughts. The majority of his arguments referenced great writers, such as Charles Dickens and David Leonhardt, which made me realize that he associates great writers with a very specific genre of writing as a whole.
Is this simply a generational difference that exists between us two? Is it because of the widespread technological revolution that has swept the world, which seems to allow all people to become more cultured in any aspect they so choose? The above statements may be true, but I have come to the conclusion that I associate good writing with the emotions that it invokes in me. The difference in opinion most likely lies in the fact that I don’t associate a specific form of writing with greatness. So I challenge others to come up with a method in which I can broaden my father’s appreciation for writing. Otherwise he may end up as another grandfather who sinks into their oversized lounger complaining about the days when news was actually in print form, and one did not need a password to access anything.
Here’s a little taste that may be able to persuade some of my skeptics…