Why I write

I have been a writer since I was a child at school, in particular a journalist. This is in the days where being a journalist still had the honour and integrity that has since been lost in the 24 hour news cycle, and the bias journalism of the modern day.

Writing exposed my vocabulary limitations which, in turn, inspired me to read more, in order to write with more eloquence.

Journalism also allowed me to wear other voices, as well as to discover my own, in a way that may be easily dismissed in fiction.

Orwell in his essay ‘Why I write’ believes that a writer’s narrative is born out of four motivations:

(i) Sheer egoism

(ii) Aesthetic enthusiasm

(iii) Historical impulse

(iv) Political purpose

I disagree with Orwell when he says that these impulses war against each other. In fact, the historic impulse and political purpose motivations often complement each other. The need to create an historical record in order to make a political statement.

I will confess to also enjoying the Aesthetic enthusiasm. I appreciate the beauty of a well constructed prose, and as a writer, I enjoy flexing my vocabulary and exploring the Synonyms and Antonyms, Metaphors and other descriptive exercises that may draw my reader into my narrative web, and envelope them in the soft cocoon of literary comfort.

The aesthetics are also a useful tool, a silk cloth used to disguise an often brutal hammer of truth.

I agree with Orwell when he implies that Ones experiences help to enrich the palette from which we paint our story.

I do not write to draw attention to myself, but often to reflect the injustice of the world around me.

There have been occasions where I write because if I do not, I might explode in violent rage, and there have been times where I write in order to stoke that very fire.

I have never had problems writing, but I often have problems writing well. The narrative often spills onto the page in an uncontrolled tsunami of words, only to require the mop of grammar, and the broom of spell-checker.

I do not agree with the final analysis of writes being vain, selfish, and lazy as I believe that people are also motivated to write by injustice, passion, and sheer delight. In fact, writing is far from being lazy as it requires a mental agility that could also be sated by a good video game, only unlike a video game, it is often less rewarding.

I am doing this writing block to develop and grow as a writer, and this is why I am trying to accept every challenge within the course in order to stretch my abilities. It is with this in mind, that I decided to elaborate on the Classroom exercise called ‘My River’.

I am going to extrapolate the theme and explore what it means to be a Londoner.

I will look at the history of London and why it makes those who were born there, and those that later call it home, Londoners.

An essay like this would be easier to write from the ‘Personal’ position where I discuss what being a Londoner means to me, however I want to try and explore the topic more and develop the ‘Universal’ voice. This does not mean that there will not be an element to the personal, but the focus will be what London means to Londoners and beyond what it means to me.

I will be writing about a historic city and exploring my interpretation of it character, so the piece will have both a Historic and Political status.

In order for my ramblings to be palatable I will attempt to make the piece aesthetically pleasing to the ear, a spoon full of sugar to make the medicine go down, if your will.

The essay will not be a critique, or at least certainly not in a Sontag manner, as I hold a deep affection for the city. I will not see it critiqued with the brutality and almost psychotic joy that is Sontag’s style, unless of course, by another Londoner.

I expect that the essay will contain areas of free association, where I compare the town to objects, items both tangible and intangible. However, in great disappointment to Freud, I will only be using this technique as a tool to paint a more colourful picture to my reader, rather than as a vehicle of self discovery.

In terms of structure:

I will start with a brief history of how London is divided, both physically, and in attitude from not only the rest of England by even within itself

I will then explore what it is that gives Londoners their pride and give example of how these manifest.

I will also explore the things about London of which I am not proud and have a duty to rectify as a Londoner.

And from there…I do not know. I believe that an essay/article needs room to grow. Plan 80% and leave 20% to the whim and mood of the writer.

It has been 15 years since I left London. I return regularly, but I expect that upon each visit my glasses get an extra generous coating of rose tinting. I expect that writing this essay, will provide me with an opportunity, should I wish to take it, to see my city more clearly.




~ by jeditopcat on 1 April, 2020.

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