Is writing significant?

Significance: image by Kev Howlett

Significance: image by Kev Howlett

There are many reasons why people write. Over the next few blogs, we are going to look at some of those reasons. Is writing significant?

Humans want to feel significant, to have some meaning or reason to be alive on this earth. For many it isn’t enough just to work, raise a family, build a life, retire then die despite the fact that you could argue that is the reason why we exist. Our existence is much more layered than that and we are complex beings consisting of a range of spiritual and emotional depths.

This is where art comes in and why it’s so very important to us. We use art to make sense of our world, our selves and our worth. We want to know why we are here and what impact we have by being here. We don’t like to think that we are just a tiny dot in the history of time (even though we are and it’s humbling to realise this).

Is it ego that drives this need? I’m no psychologist or philosopher, so I can’t really say too much about this but I do understand the driving need to feel significant after working with other writers and from my own writing practice.

So is writing significant, does it leave something significant for when we are dead and gone? I would say it does. For every writer out there toiling over the page, trying to get thoughts and ideas into some kind of shape, they are making sense of the world. It might be in poetry, a novel or a self-help book, even a children’s book. All of these forms have truth and impart the writer’s reality and knowledge. How good or bad the writing is beside the point because the writer is finding ways to express him/herself, looking for meaning in life. This becomes significant in two ways: the writer has created something and the world is given a creation (good or bad).

Of course, we can argue that art needs to be good. What does that mean exactly when art is subjective? Any piece of art can create discussion and relevance in a good or bad way. I agree that we should strive to create something of value in terms of skill and outcome but at the end of the day, who is to say that someone’s poem isn’t worthy of existing if it isn’t deemed perfect in the realms of poetry? Who are these gatekeepers that tell us that a piece of writing isn’t written well so it isn’t worth anything? It becomes about relativity. One person’s writing can have a significant impact on some readers but not others and yet it is significant to the creator.

Blaise the book chick

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Write Around the Murray Festival – a review

site-logoWe’re very spoilt for choice in Melbourne when it comes to writing festivals. So much so that they tend to become white noise. From the Melbourne Writers Festival, Emerging Writers Festival, many council/library run festivals to The Clunes Book weekend and Bendigo Writers Festival, just to name a few. But here’s one I suggest that you put on the calendar of events for next year and make a weekend of it.

The Write Around the Murray Festival (Albury NSW) celebrated ten years last week and I only heard of it last year, when I went with my writing group for the weekend. This is a five-day festival that has lots of great content with a great location. Most of the bigger events are held at the LibraryMuseum, right in the centre of town. This venue is fantastic, with the library, bookshop and even a pop-up café.

Unfortunately, I had events to attend in Melbourne, so it was Saturday night by the time I arrived, just in time to meet my fellow panellists for our Publish Me! segment the next day. We discussed the submitted stories over wine (tough job, I know), then headed over to the LibraryMuseum for pre-dinner drinks before the Stereo Stories event.

Stereo Stories @ Write Around the Murray festival

Stereo Stories @ Write Around the Murray festival

Stereo Stories is a great night of song memoirs featuring guest authors with what I would call musical interludes to fit the story. The songs resonated with me because they were from artists such as Paul Kelly. The featured authors were Debra Oswald, Jane Harrison, Anson Cameron and Phillip Murray, all accompanied by the Stereo Stories band. Apparently this group performs at lots of festivals and events, so if you see them out there, try to get tickets. Great food went with this event, so I was well fed with nourishing food and creative talent by the time I fell into bed.

The Publish Me! panel was well attended for a Sunday morning session. I’m guessing quite a few in the audience were writers who had submitted a page for discussion. The panel consisted of Fleur Ferris, Sue Gillett, Jen McDonald and myself, with the task of assessing whether a page of writing had the goods to hook and reel in a publisher. From the nine submissions that we chose, there was great discussion about pace, point of view, showing not telling and intrigue – all elements that we think hook a reader in.

After the session, we were swamped with some of the submission authors wanting to talk more about their pieces. I hope that many of them have gone away with valuable insights to their work that is useful going forward.

I feel as though I really only had a taste of the festival this year, compared to last year, but it was enough to get some creative juices flowing and to get a real buzz from the festival goers. And, I learned a bit of trivia at Stereo Stories: Enid Blyton’s nephew, Carey Blyton, wrote the theme song to Bananas in Pyjamas in 1967!

Blaise the book chick

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