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7.07.2011

Writing As Useless

Several things got me thinking lately. Firstly, how much sleep deprivation can one take to become a writer.

Also, is it worth it? Is creative writing all in vain.

Over at Ocean Vuong's blog, he writes about the disconnect he feel between his life as a poet and his origins. Coming from a working class background, he writes, " I am ashamed and embarrassed of my art and my way of life....Some of the people in this neighborhood have never read a book in their life, some, like my mother, father, and aunts, are illiterate." Indeed, while the written word has given me so much comfort, is this comfort a shared commonality? Something on which humanity can and must thrive on?

Increasingly, no.

In the recent survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
"Time spent reading for personal interest and playing games or using a computer for leisure varied greatly by age. Individuals age 75 and over averaged 1.1 hours of reading per weekend day and 18 minutes playing games or using a computer for leisure. Conversely, individuals ages 15 to 19 read for an average of 6 minutes per weekend day while spending 1.1 hours playing games or using a computer for leisure."
While there's not much to complain about the senior numbers (it could always be more). But the future here--those 15-19 year olds, only read for the length of say two songs...one or less if you're talking about those long club remixes with long introductions. (Of course, one is not suppose to project the data; people change).

Yet the fact that it might be replaced by games, echoes the prediction made by Philip Roth:
"The book can't compete with the screen. It couldn't compete [in the] beginning with the movie screen. It couldn't compete with the television screen, and it can't compete with the computer screen... Now we have all those screens, so against all those screens a book couldn't measure up."
This along with the recent revelation that Roth didn't read fiction anymore. (To be fair: Roth has always had a history of bullshit).

If writing is out of style, if no one is reading, would it be worth it anymore?

Vuong writes:
"So what I am doing here? I poet, I liar, artist and trickster with my myriad masks and tall tales. Do I return here to sing their broken dreams into the world and call it my own? Do I force myself to fabricate something beautiful from these ruins despite knowing the truth is never as romantic as poetry makes it?"
Writing, it seems, is unimportant for those who do not, and important for those who do. Which always the case for anything.

Undoubtedly, there will always be writers. But will there be enough readers?

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