As a borderline illiterate accountant, I began to read more about 5 years ago. I was an uninterested student and I believe many (especially male) teenagers are. As I started to travel more and read more my capacity and want for learning expanded exponentially to the point today where I love reading, listening and watching anything that polishes my ignorant views. Absorbing knowledge on an increasing number of subjects seems natural compared to the adolescent days when a kick of the football or displacing energy any which way was the priority.
Now that I have consumed a modest amount the desire to write and extradite my thoughts have arisen. Being someone who has taken more naturally to numbers, my writing will no doubt be quite awful to read, especially for the proud punctuality police. That being said one must start somewhere and the more I read wonderful writers the more I desire to improve my own. I think now that short emails, texting and messaging are the most common forms of writing, the art of long form is one on the decline. I think this speaks to one of the key reasons for my newfound attempt at literature. As I have never excelled with vocabulary and forming my views coherently my ability as a general conversationalist is most likely quite basic. Writing more may help improve these areas. I also find that my recall of dialogue and writing is extremely wanting. I think it has been proven (certainly to myself) that writing things down is one of the better ways to preserve and improve one’s memory.
I see myself half a decade ago as an extremely ignorant opinionated person. I think it’s fair to say there were even cases where I took opposing views just to arouse some heat into a conversation. I can’t, unfortunately, undo any of that but my steady intake of inspirational writers and thinkers such as Stephen Fry, Barack Obama and Christopher Hitchens to name only a few has provided the great gift of humility through perspective. These such writers perfectly promote the importance of facts; the need to study and consider all opposing views; the numerous ways of approaching hard conversations; the necessity to try and maintain a truly open mind; much on the concept of change and in the realm of history. All of these concepts were foreign to me until I embraced learning. Once I became addicted to the annihilation of my own ignorance I believe I learnt more in a hand full of good books than my whole childhood education (maybe math excluded, I somehow learnt that). So now that I begin to hopefully write more, I believe I do so as a less ignorant person than the simpleton that somehow passed his college English entrance exam (thank you Shawshank).
Do I have any concerns in publishing my writing? Certainly. I will post the following footnote on all my articles for the accompanying reasons.
The information and views divulged above were formulated at the date of original publication. Things change.
Changing one’s mind seems to be construed as a weakness. In today’s information-soaked environment having an open mind is more advantageous as more data can be consumed before a position is formed. Unfortunately, there appears to me much of the opposite. People tend to adopt a view and either consciously or unconsciously accumulate only information that supports that view. Over time new facts supersede old facts so a piece of writing should always be viewed with its publication date in mind.
Finally some thoughts on how inspirational writing can be.
The first time I routinely took up writing was a daily journal during a small period of my life when my mental state was far from ideal. Other than the neat black notebook I bought, I can’t remember exactly why I decided to do it but in a time of great introversion, this pre-sleep daily diary was the perfect place to extract my thoughts therapeutically. This resulted in better sleep and constant mental health improvement. This was a great example of how private writing can be a great place to organise one’s thoughts on a purely personal basis. If not shared with anyone, writing is a great non-judgemental friend that is only a pen and paper away. Still haven’t gone back and read that journal all being said. I think the writing of it was its benefit. It’s purpose.
Finally writing in all its permanency is a gift. My 85-year-old grandfather embraced technology, sat down at a laptop and typed his 175-page memoir Origins & Whereabouts. Although close to my ‘Pop’, I was unaware of the majority of stories contained in this book. I find it so permanently special that he has put in much effort so that we all have a huge part of him sitting on all of the family bookshelves. Writing is so personal in this sense and one day when my Pop and I are no more, family, friends and even strangers can pick up / search / google or stumble upon our amateur prose. Personal writing sits as a conversation waiting to be pick up and engaged upon.
Well with all that said.
Watch this space.