Writing in current-day society has lost a lot of the formality that once defined every handwritten sentence. In the past, monks used to spend hours transcribing written texts and embellishing pages through extensive processes using rarities, such as gold leaf. But has a lessening of this more formal form of writing decreased what counts as writing in general? I, along with my fellow Writing 220 classmates, would like to think not.
Upon reflecting on what writing means to us, we discovered just how many genres of writing exist. We also learned that “writing” means something very different to each individual.
One of my fellow classmates chose an email as an example of something that counts as writing to her. This interested me greatly because prior to this assignment I did not realize just how essential this subform of writing is to me. An email requires professionalism when done in a business environment but can also offer a space for humor or storytelling for friends, family, and acquaintances. Thus, it creates a forum for imagination and seriousness, all depending on the situation. In this sense, it gives the author a lot of power over how their words will be perceived.
Another interesting example was that of the image of room 5 of Pompeii. Many of us have heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” and it is fascinating just how true this is. What I love about works of art is that interpretation depends solely on the viewer. It is a fascinating way of viewing writing – the observer essentially becomes the storyteller.
These examples, among many others, gave me great insight into modern-day writing. Emails, text messages, statuses, and tweets are all great ways of communicating quickly and efficiently. A sense of conciseness and directness encompasses these modes, and viewing how these forms impact my life made me realize the importance of directness in writing in order to maintain an audience.
The use of paintings and calligraphy also made me realize that a lot of our ways of writing have not changed over the years. There still is an appreciation for the written text. Paintings, logos and other depictions still have great meaning in our lives, even many years later.
As a Minor in Writing student at the University of Michigan, learning what writing means to me is essential. I discovered that to me, writing is a sense of expressiveness and freedom. It is a way of gaining the respect of others, a way of telling a story in a new way, and a way of getting a message across in the best way possible. By using it to express my voice clearly and concisely, I have discovered that writing today, in even 140 characters or less, is still just as strong as ever.