Writing is a Portal

Whether writing is a novel, song lyrics, a to-do list, or a New York Times article, it is a portal to another place in time. It is a mode of transportation to your favorite character’s inner thoughts, the tasks you must complete, or the song that speaks to your emotional vulnerabilities. Writing cannot be narrowly defined because that would limit its capabilities. Yes, writing is communication. It delivers an intended message. It is entertainment. It is information. However, the thoughts and messages conveyed through writing act as a bridge to another place in time.

Essentially, everyone has a different definition of writing because most definitions in themselves are relative to a person’s field of experience. Some of my peers in class were dismayed by my submission of a calendar as writing. To me, my calendar communicates my daily ups and downs and ups. Without my calendar, I would be lost. Surely something that guides me through the written word can be defined as writing. Others in class proclaimed that anything with a message can be defined as writing. But does that mean the Mona Lisa is equivalent to a text message? Surely it cannot, right? But that’s the thing. In the age of relativity, comparing a piece of art history and a menial digital set of words is not unheard of. Because if we are going to define writing as a portal, as something that transports you to another place in time or another thought – then your best friend’s emoji-filled text message that lifts your spirits is writing. And so is a painting that causes your mind to wander to thoughts you could never imagine prior to that experience.

So if text messages, song lyrics, calendars, and paintings can all be defined as something that transports you to another train of thought, then they can all be considered writing. Don’t let this seemingly broad definition discourage you. We are taught to have concrete, core definitions in order to¬†act in unison and harmony as a society. However, limiting or narrowing the definition of writing only keeps people from delivering and receiving messages, understanding their deepest feelings, and traveling to other places in their mind.

Anna Prenzler

Anna is a senior studying business with a minor in writing at the University of Michigan. She believes you can never sing or laugh enough, and you must write things down for two reasons - to remember what happens in your life and to feel something.

2 thoughts to “Writing is a Portal”

  1. I really align with your first paragraph! I also wrote about how writing, after everything, is communication. You may have said it better than me, “messages conveyed through writing act as a bridge to another place”, that is really what is key about writing. I was also caught off guard in class about the addition of paintings as writing. They have similar properties perhaps, such as to convey a message, but the mediums by which they convey that message are conflicting.

  2. I too, agree with how writing is “portal to another place in time.” That’s my favorite part of writing fiction and poetry: the creation of a new world, and the preservation of intense emotions and recreating it into a scene. In a sense, if emotions were butterflies, writing would be the glass jar that captures them. The beauty of it is that there is no limit to the shape or texture or color of the jar. There are so many ways to express one thing, and it’s the journey of discovering how to create the jar that’s got me here.

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