Thursday, December 01, 2005

the essentialness of writing

This is an excerpt from a letter written by Sharon Olds, State poet for NY. She is talking about working with frozen people (paralysis, or other confining states) in a state hospital.

It struck me as a compelling piece of writing. But what else would you expect from a poet, neh? ;?)

When you have witnessed someone nonspeaking and almost nonmoving spell out, with a toe, on a big plastic alphabet chart, letter by letter, his new poem, you have experienced, close up, the passion and essentialness of writing.

When you have held up a small cardboard alphabet card for a writer who is completely nonspeaking and nonmoving (except for the eyes), and pointed first to the A, then the B, then C, then D, until you get to the first letter of the first word of the first line of the poem she has been composing in her head all week, and she lifts her eyes when that letter is touched to say yes, you feel with a fresh immediacy the human drive for creation, self-expression, accuracy, honesty and wit--and the importance of writing, which celebrates the value of each person's unique story and song.

-Sharon Olds

Makes me think of the physicist, Stephen Hawking. I'm glad someone understood the essentialness of voice through the inventions that allowed him to share what's on his mind. Even if he was wrong about black holes.

We forgive ya Steve. ;?)


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