Writing Into the Void

A question I think about often but you don't hear mentioned a whole lot in the writing field is Why bother writing anything when eventually we'll all die, and beyond that even the works of supposedly immortal writers like Shakespeare will be forgotten, as will the human race? I just came across an essay in The Best American Non Required Reading 2008 by David Gessner called "The Dreamer Did Not Exist" that addresses this question:

"In his brilliant book The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker argues that much of our energy, much of our creativity, much of our life, comes from our attempt to deny the essential fact of our existence: that that existence will end...We throw ourselves into frenzied attempts to fill up the nothingness with "something", hurling our objects of work or art-our creations-into the void. At the same time we try to make a name for ourselves, knowing that the worst thing we can be is a "nothing". Becker says that in our realization that we are nothing, we fight to stand out, to be something, trying to build a narcissistic shield around ourselves that keeps death out."

Personally, we here at Blogagaard have lost interest in building an eternal name for ourselves and now revolve around more humble matters, such as paying the bills. I'd be quite happy to make a steady $40,000 a year for the rest of my life by writing and gain little name recognition. Back in high school and college we may have hoped for grander things, to become the next so-and-so, but now we'll settle for coffee shop money and being allowed to continue not wearing khakis on a daily basis. Not that I'd turn down becoming a lit rock star-I'm always up for a good party.

So why write into the void (beyond the regular mid-list void, I mean)? Because, at least in my case, I really haven't found a more enjoyable way to pass the time, something I can do to relieve the ever-present tension of mortality.

Gessner writes:

"...though maybe it is out of nothingness that we all begin to create. If the world doesn't exist, then we will make our own world."


Post a Comment