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A collaboration over too much coffee.
coffee and pen

02 September, 2004

"Serious" writers and readers

Anita Vasudeva posted this on the BWC board. i thought we could widen the audience a little and ask those questions here as well.
For all you writers and coffee drinkers - what is a Serious Writer and a Serious Reader?
Is it a writer who:
a) does nothing else but write?
b) for whom writing is the prime route to communication? has something to say?
c) writes to be published (and hence, writes to be read?)
d) writes to express - creativity? - artistic?
e) writes out of sheer love for the language?
(But I know writers who write because of one or some or all or none of the above but write so beautifully, even if it is only letters to their nephews. Are they serious writers? or not?)

Is it a reader who:
a) reads to roll the words around the mouth and the mind
b) reads because it is a window to the worlds
c) reads only serious writers - or even reads the paper bag with the apples in it?
d) reads and forgets but enjoys the journey? or reads and recalls and remembers and compares?
e) reads for the story ? reads because a friend said read this? reads because maybe it will help?
(Why should I be serious to read? Can I not read for a lark even if the writer brings only a moment of an undefined something while I wait in the outer room of a government official?)
Write, all you writers - use your words, throw them at us and enjoy. Cheers!


Blogger Marginalien said...

You know, questions like this remind me of the now famous observation about bumble bees that has been attributed to a number of people: In aerodynamic terms, bumble bees are considered unfit to fly BUT ... no-one told them that ... so they fly anyway. I think academics and journalists and others who write about writing are welcome to ponder these weighty subjects but for both writers and readers, the questions are, like aerodynamics for bumble bees, irrelevant. We read, we write, we wread, we rite -- seriously, irreverantly, light-heartedly, boldly -- whatever.

03 September, 2004 09:59  
Blogger John said...

Anita, I have given it some thought...

I think a serious writer is one who is serious about what he/she writes and reads... he/she is not a surfer... a browser... a scanner... you can leave that to the machines... he/she is one who cares and feels for every single world and the way it is expressed.

Therefore in the case of the uncle who writes careful letters to his nephew... yes... he is a serious writer.

Also, I wouldn't dare call those writers who write without once going through their writing as serious writers. That is an egoistic writer who thinks he/she can never make a mistake so do not need to go back and correct punctuations, grammar, syntax, etc.

A serious reader would be one who reads for the enjoyment of each figure of speech, each turn of phrase, each lovely thought. So even a nephew who carefully goes through his uncle's words of wisdom and do not scan it and throw it away is a serious reader.

But sometimes when we are pressured by work we just scan and leave badly written articles and memos, and even write some of them. I guess that is not serious reading or writing. They are communications meant to convey a very basic idea, not a beautiful thought....

In my work as a "content writer" I do that often enough... and can't help it... because if I don't meet the deadline... well... I wouldn't go any further!

03 September, 2004 10:53  
Blogger Max Babi said...

Hi John and Marginalien,

Both of you make interesting points. I think as writer who has never known the mental block or the fear of the blank paper, that there is something called spontaneity -and those who believe they write in perfect spurts, may perhaps be justified in saying so. Serious writers of course. By the way the non-serious writer is he or she who writes and forgets what was written where and for what or whom. A breed apart. These critters expect others to pick up the litter in their wake.

John, a writer who does not edit his or her work can hardly be taken seriously -that is a prerequisite I guess, so it need not be re-emphasised here. Egoistic writers who do that, I doubt if their works see the daylight anyway, editors and publishers could never be so lackadaisical even if it is a big name in writing circles.



03 September, 2004 16:47  
Blogger rats said...

why i write

i write
i know nothing else
that i could do better

i write because i think

i write
for having known
the might of
the sword
i bow down
to the pen

i write to make you think

i write
for i know
what i can do
to you
with my words

i write because i breathe

i write for
the poetry
of the language
for the magic
that comes over me
and makes music
of my musings

i write as it keeps me alive

03 September, 2004 19:13  
Blogger rats said...

we read
to grow

vij and rats

03 September, 2004 19:18  
Blogger Marginalien said...

Hot rats, I learnt
from Frank Zappa
Stands for "Hot Rations"
In the Army.

So what might Hot cats
Stand for?
Hot cataracts?
Hotel caterers?
Haute Catheter?
Which last I thought of
As an entirely ridiculous
Created out of the
Knowledge that
The main station in
Utrecht is called
Hoog Catherijn
Which means High
And "haute" means high
In French
And Catheter does NOT
Mean Catherine
In any language.

If I had to name
This non-poem
I would call it
Nonsense on the
Half Shell.

04 September, 2004 02:56  

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