In the opening paragraph of his essay, Orwell boldly asserted that “from a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, [he] knew that when [he] grew up [he] should be a writer.” This assertion immediately grabbed my attention, as it seems unlikely that a child of such a young age would know what he/she wanted to become. However as I gave more and more thought to this statement, I realized that I, myself, have wanted to be a surgeon since the tender age of nine. Although Orwell discovered his true calling three or four long years before I was able to, we both discovered our passions early on in life. This realization led me to believe that I would agree with Orwell on a number of different stylistic levels. I was right.
In terms of the ever-so-broad question, “Why I Write”, I must say that my writing style most closely identifies with Orwell’s love of language, his “joy of mere words” and his ability to rearrange words on a page in such an artistic manner. I enjoy manipulating words in a way that makes a reader think. Writing, to me, is not simply words on a page, but rather a canvas on which I can paint a picture much larger than words. How? Symbolism. Allusions. Descriptions. Metaphors. The possibilities are endless. There is nothing I hate more than reading a piece of writing that is simply a blank canvas with a few 12pt font, times new roman words spattered upon it, jumbled around to form a couple of sentences. Boring. Anyone could do that. Literally anyone. According to the infinite monkey theorem, given enough time, a monkey typing at random could produce perfect copies of Shakespeare’s plays. Google it. What makes a piece of writing a piece of art is the author’s ability to consume readers by painting a picture so vivid that it feels as though they are a part of the story, which is how I felt as I read Jeffery Eugenides’ novel “Middlesex”.
While reading the novel, I was constantly engaged intellectually and artistically by being thrown around from heavy topic to heavy topic. How do you characterize a book that presents themes of racial changes in the 1960’s, incest, gender identity, immigration, striving for the American Dream, and sexual promiscuity? The answer is: you can’t. Eugenides excels at drawing his readers into an inescapable, controversial world riddled by allusions to Detroit in the 1960’s. Although I may be biased due to growing up near Detroit, I believe that Eugenides not only produced a best-selling novel, but he also produced a work of art; a 3 dimensional canvas lathered with anI t indescribable amount of colors and sparkles (not that I care for sparkles all that much…). Regardless of my personal opinion of the novel, Eugenides clearly shares the same passion for words that both Orwell and I do. He expresses his love of language, and his ability to manipulate words in a manner that both stimulates and includes the reader, a feat that I find very challenging.
That being said, I have a small issue with the article written by Sullivan. Initially, I thought that Sullivan’s article was the most relevant to me, and due to the cultural changes over the last fifty to sixty years, it is probably the most accurate descriptor of my daily life. However in his essay, the sentence “…the deadline is always now” struck me as an unfortunate characteristic of our generation. Why must everything be now? Impatience is, without a doubt, on the rise in our culture and I believe that it has negatively affected the level of creativity, and effort put forth in today’s literature. We all remember reading authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemmingway, and Mark Twain…but which authors will future generations remember about us? Stephanie Meyer? I sincerely hope not (sorry Twilight fans). I have never understood why society has to move at such a rapid pace, but it is unacceptable to assume that the creative process of writing ought to move as quickly. Writing, as previously mentioned, is a process. So, next time you’re writing an essay at 1:30am hyped up on red bull just trying to squeeze out 500 more words, just take a breather. Writing is an art, not a race.