What is Writing?

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Writing as Death.

“One of the most startling paradoxes inherent in writing is its close association with death.” Excuse me, what? Well I completely disagree with this statement (as is clear in my “Why I Write” essay).  I have never once associated writing with death. If anything, writing is like birth: a chance to reinvent yourself to the world. I do see how writing is able to be resurrected by readers, but why does it have to die in the first place?

Writing as a Technology.

I never really saw writing as a technology, but that’s probably because there are so many other technological things that are more obvious in the sense that we grew up in an era of digital revolutions. When I think technology, I think computers, ipods, cell phones, tvs–but I do not think writing. As I think more about it, I guess some form of writing had to go into each of these technologies.

Writing as Pictures, Pictures as Writing.

It’s interesting how something as complex as writing began as simple scratchings on a stone. I still think writing and pictures go hand-in-hand. Just think back to the books you read when you first learned how to read. Chances are, they were full of  mostly pictures accompanied by a few words.

Writing as Magic.

I think writing has some magical components, but I don’t associate it with magic in the oracle sense mentioned in the reading. That is taking things too far…And who are these “Glamor Grammar” girls? All I thought of when I read this part was the Glamour (as in fashion) girls!

Writing through Scribes.

When I read this part, I instantly thought of my sister who currently works as a medical scribe. I never knew this concept of having someone else record your thoughts and words for you dated so far back.

Writing as Solitude, Writing as Social.

I agree with Ong that writing is a solitary task. When I write it’s essentially just me, my paper, and the thoughts in my head. But writing is just as social as it is solitaire. I immediately think of the writing workshops we do and how much of a conversation takes place between the reader, writer, and text. There is nothing alone about sharing your writing with the world.

 Writing with a Voice.

When you write, you have to consider how you would say the written words out loud. What tone do you want? What message do you want to get across to your readers? These are the types of questions worth asking.  Although writing may seem passive and silent; simply words on a page, writing is just as alive and active as the spoken word.

Writing as Rhetoric.

Personally, I don’t enjoy the word rhetoric. I hadn’t even really heard it used until this year. I think the word rhetoric complicates an otherwise simple concept of “how to write effectively.” If you want people to write effectively, you should communicate to them in a language they understand.

2 thoughts to “What is Writing?”

  1. I enjoyed your breakdown of the Ong article according to topic and what you thought about each one. It was interesting to be able to sort of read the article with you and see what you thought of it.

  2. Hm. I’m not sure I agree with you about writing as rebirth. While the action of writing is very freeing and often exhilarating, you have to think about the implications of what you are doing. When you are writing, you are setting words down on a page to stay there for good, and it is up to the reader to give the words animation. When you think about writing a book, for instance, that book is read by many different readers in many different places. But the text always stays the same – it is dead. As the years pass, the words aren’t updated to reflect the world how it is now and it may be harder for the reader to animate the words again and relate to the book. It’s sort of like when you read a book written in the ’80s and you know it because of how the author describes what the characters are wearing, or their big, clunky phones. I think that is closer to what Ong meant about writing being associated with death.

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