Monday, March 21, 2005

Why we write - why you should write

Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, in an essay titled In Defense of the Word wrote:
One writes out of a need to communicate and to commune with others, to denounce that which gives pain and to share that which gives happiness. One writes against one's solitude and against the solitude of others. One assumes that literature transmits knowledge and affects the behaviour and language of those who read, thus helping us to know ourselves better and to save ourselves collectively. (in Days and Nights of Love an War, NY: Monthly Review Press, 1983, p.183.)
Galeano reflects poignantly and, as always, eloquently, on the role of the writer committed to resisting oppression in a world where most of the people for whom one writes are illiterate. This remains a true condition in Latin American countries. In Canada we do not suffer the degree of illiteracy that is true in many parts of the world. But it remains disturbingly true that the vast majority of people in Canadian society receive the majority of their information about the world from television. But we write anyway, to tell our stories, personal and collective.

There's a lovely story on Judy Rebick's 10,000 Stories blog that someone wrote as a comment last week:
I enjoyed your speech last night here in Victoria. I brought my 12-year old daughter along. While she didn't have the background to understand everything you said, she was surprised to realize just how recently women had won so many rights. And they are important to her. Your presentation reminded me of how as a young woman many of these rights were quite new but that I was able to use them as I thought that I should.
You can read the full comment here. It is evidence of the many-more-than 10,000 stories that are out there and that we'll hopefully hear/read more of in the coming months. So, just as Judy encourages people to write, so do i.

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