Monday, November 3, 2008

To Write or Not To Write

Writing is the great invention of the world.
Abraham Lincoln (1862)

The nineteenth century is a wonderful period for social historians to research because the act of writing became an acceptable use of leisure time for more women than ever before. Women had diaries and journals and wrote letters. Many were left behind for us to study and sometimes even marvel at today. A similar milieu is simmering today in the blogosphere. More and more plebes (myself included) are actively participating in conversations based on the written word. Our tools are more complex; we don't use quills and china black ink anymore.
With more capable tools, will our written thoughts be more grand? Not necessarily. To write great things, one must think great thoughts, and to think great thoughts, one must have great models to mirror first, then surpass.
We live in a time of great opportunity and more options than ever in history; the challenge lies in choosing well. Whom and what we choose to allow as models will determine what we leave behind for our great-grandchildren to read and consider. Will the early twentieth century be interesting to historians of the future? Or will the written mess we leave behind be dismissed as way too noisy and trite?
I'll take my chances, and participate anyway, just for the joy of being part of it all.

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