What’s the point of writing? Amid the torrent of tweets, snaps and status updates, the verbiage of fake news and the dreck of junk mail, why would we need more words in the world?
And yet we do. We constantly need to write the world afresh. For all that some authors, such as Jane Austin, endure, mostly the great writing names of an age fade away. Who now reads Graham Greene or Kingsley Amis? Even Martin Amis? The Neapolitan Novels are today’s Dance to the Music of Time.
Writing is an act of engagement with our world in the here and now. Note, this is so even of historical fiction or sci fi: it normally reflects contemporary concerns. How could it not do since it is shaped much more by the filters and perceptions of the age and culture in which it is formed not that which it is about?
But writing need not necessarily be a public act. Writing as engagement with the world is an act we can all get in on.