Have you ever asked yourself why you’re compelled to write? What is it that makes you string words together into sentences, paragraphs, pages, whether it’s fiction, newspaper copy or a blog? I’d argue that you (and I) do it because, despite the popularity of video, writing is the dominant method of communication today.
But, writing is also intensely personal. Prior to the invention of the printing press and widespread literacy, information spread by word of mouth. And it was information that was meant for everyone, like edicts, announcements or religious instruction. Imagine trying to keep a diary in the age of oral tradition:
Somewhere in Medeaeval England, Helewys stands in her kitchen speaking aloud to herself, “Tarrowin segested he would be ryding to the next fiefdom all the nyght. Truely! Does he not realize I know he has been seeing Alice?”
Despite the blow that Helewys will soon deliver to Tarrowin’s head, ensuring that he won’t forget his transgression, Helewys’ spoken words will be forgotten. If she were alive today, Helewys would journal her feelings until she arrived at a place of peace, and perhaps even a decision to leave that no-good, cheating knight in rusty armour.
The act of writing transforms how we think about ourselves. By allowing us the space to write down our thoughts, feelings and daily events, it convinces us of the power, value and voice we own as individuals. To write is to open a door to our own need for rebellion.
Rebellion means to resist authority, control and convention. In India, author Banu Mushtaq encourages women to “write to demand space in all sections of society”. By recording their stories on paper, these women demand to be seen and heard.
Memoir is another example. It’s not only a key to remembering the past, but it can also be the best way to conquer, understand, change and move forward into a different future. An act of rebellion is a formative moment that helps us find and develop that voice inside us. It defines who we are and who we want to be. Writing reclaims your value as a human being.
For me, this blog is an act of rebellion. I like writing to deadlines and on demand about topics that aren’t always close to my heart. But here, I have the opportunity to let my mind meander through what are sometimes fairly esoteric ideas. Hopefully, by doing so, I can inspire some of you to come along with me. This is how I challenge the usual ways I’m asked to interpret the world.
How is your writing rebellious?