Tag Archives: People

Write to be Heard

“while it’s conventional that wisdom exists in literature, creative writing has always been seen as more rarefied or intimidating. It has been celebrated as personally palliative, yes, but it’s never been considered a method to increase participation in society. After all, what good is composing poetry and writing stories when you need a job, or a nation must be founded, or a war has to be won, or cancer is ravaging the bodies both human and politic?

But creative writing can be anyone’s best training for speaking out – and if you’ve ever read novels, heard scripture, watched movies or TV, listened to songs, or learned folklore, then you’ve been studying your entire life how storytelling works. By applying your hand at creating it, you are not just attempting art, you are learning vital skills and life lessons.

Fiction teaches us about characters and empathy, plot and consequences, and the value of nuance to truth. Poetry teaches us how to distil language, value silence, and understand metaphor. Non-fiction (which certainly includes journalism) teaches us accountability to facts, critical thinking about the systems in society, and the importance of getting out into the world to listen to others. These are but a few of the skills one learns from writing creatively.

Are those life lessons not vital to democracy? To have a voice is to have a vote. To have a vote is to be represented in society. To represent ourselves clearly and confidently empowers us citizens to air our own concerns and our community’s grievances, to be accountable for ourselves, and to demand the accountability of our leaders. If we are not trained to articulate our arguments properly, we will never be heard legitimately, and we can be ignored too conveniently.

… while art itself might not change the world, it’s abundantly clear that it can empower those who will.”

From, and read more: http://ewn.co.za/2017/05/11/art-and-literature-are-vital-to-democracy-here-s-why

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Reading, What is it Good For?

“Reading is a crucial practice in contemporary life. Reading helps us to better ourselves by educating our minds, enriching our knowledge, and exposing us to new and diverse ideas and perspectives, not to mention different lifestyles, worlds, and ways of being. This exposure to diversity and difference, in turn, helps enable us to better understand, not just ourselves, but the world around us.

Reading opens us up to new senses and possibilities. Manguel describes learning to read as “acquiring a new sense, so that now certain things no longer consisted merely of what my eyes could see, my ears could hear, my tongue could taste, my nose could smell, my fingers could feel, but of what my whole body could decipher, translate, give voice to, read”.

Reading makes it possible for us to attain higher levels of awareness, enhancing our other senses, enriching our knowledge, and augmenting and adding to our realities. It therefore opens up new possibilities for us to explore and experience.

There are many other great advantages of and to reading, including strengthening cognition and intellect, improving mental and physical health, and enhancing compassion and empathy.”

From, and read more about the importance of reading: timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151102/opinion/The-benefits-of-reading.590612

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Creativity a Byproduct of Mental Disorder?

“intelligence doesn’t have much effect on creativity: most creative people are pretty smart, but they don’t have to be that smart […] But if high IQ does not indicate creative genius, then what does? […]

What differences in nature and nurture can explain why some people suffer from mental illness and some do not? And why are so many of the world’s most creative minds among the most afflicted? […]

As research methodology improved over time, the idea that genius might be hereditary gained support. […]

For many of my subjects from that first study—all writers associated with the Iowa Writers’ Workshop—mental illness and creativity went hand in hand. This link is not surprising. The archetype of the mad genius dates back to at least classical times, when Aristotle noted, “Those who have been eminent in philosophy, politics, poetry, and the arts have all had tendencies toward melancholia. […]

Among those who ended up losing their battles with mental illness through suicide are Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Vincent van Gogh, John Berryman, Hart Crane, Mark Rothko, Diane Arbus, Anne Sexton, and Arshile Gorky. […]

The creative […] and their relatives have a higher rate of mental illness than the controls and their relatives do. […] 

Why does creativity run in families? What is it that gets transmitted? How much is due to nature and how much to nurture? Are writers especially prone to mood disorders because writing is an inherently lonely and introspective activity? What would I find if I studied a group of scientists instead?”

And the answer is: theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/06/secrets-of-the-creative-brain/372299/

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Writers as Activists

“If […] creative writers, researchers, playwrights, artists and film-makers care more for how the posterity is going to judge their work and their times, then they should not care for publishers of the Establishments, funding agencies, interviews to corporate media, acceptance by ‘refereed journals’ and the so-called international awards, but should consciously orientate their work for directing the struggle to face its due target and for giving confidence and optimism to the masses”…

From:  tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=37252

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Books bring more happiness than money

“A new study by the UK’s Department for Culture Media and Sport shows that people can be just as happy going to the library as getting a £1,359 ($2,282) pay rise. The study, which examined the way in which our cultural engagement can affect overall wellbeing, found that frequent trips to the library gave us a similar feeling of wellbeing to things like the prospect of a pay rise, dancing, swimming and going to theater shows.

It’s unclear whether happy people go to the library or whether the library actually makes people happy. Either way though, it seems the library is where the happy people are at. Given that the UK, like the U.S., has seen many of its libraries closed over the past few years, perhaps this research should prompt a rethink about the worth of our libraries.”

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In Literature United

The “fundamental conflict of our times is not the clash between two civilisations, but doctrines-religious and ethnic fundamentalism on the one hand, secular consumerist capitalism on the other.”

“It is true of terrorism as it is of modern civil conflicts that men of war prey on the ignorance of the populace to instill fear and arouse hatred”; “murderous, even genocidal ideologies took root in the absence of truthful information and honest education.”

“If only half the effort had gone into teaching those people what unites them, and not what divides them, unspeakable crimes could have been prevented”.

“Literature can bring down violence in today’s world as reading and writing broadens minds. … Two contradictory forces shape the world of letters today …  the first is globalisation of human imagination and the second is anxiety of audience.”

From: newindianexpress.com

Reading is food for the soul

“When you talk about reading, you should look in the context of food; if you go for a day without eating how do you feel? So that is how we should be hungry for materials to read and that way we will remain healthy mentally. The challenge is to change things from up there. We the adults, if we change, the children will find it very easy to adapt”…

“Reading is not just about novels. It could be any newspaper, and it could books for leisure or any educational material.”

“Reading could be compared to food; you only improve the way you think, the way you do things by reading. That is why when you go to school you will be reminded that the teachers’ contributions on your ability to pass an exam is just about 40 per cent. The rest you have to read.”

From: postzambia.com

Readers vs Non-Readers

“The world is divided between readers and non-readers – and the difference between the two is enormous and unbridgeable.

Readers absorb; non-readers broadcast.

Readers know stuff; non-readers are running on empty.

Readers are curious; non-readers aren’t.

Readers are obsessed with the world beyond themselves; non-readers are self-obsessed.

Reading, like any addiction, has its problems. Once you discover that the best books are better company than most people, you can lose patience with the company of most people. To be caught without a book or a paper in a queue, at an airport or on a train, is extreme agony.The cure for the addiction, though, is easy – always have a book or paper on you; and do your best to minimise your time in the company of boring people – themselves almost always non-readers.”

From: blogs.telegraph.co.uk

Reading Fiction Leads to Sophisticated Thinking and Greater Creativity

“Are you uncomfortable with ambiguity? It’s a common condition, but a highly problematic one. The compulsion to quell that unease can inspire snap judgments, rigid thinking, and bad decision-making.Fortunately, new research suggests a simple anecdote for this affliction: Read more literary fiction.”

“So how does literature induce this ease with the unknown?”

Researchers have the answer:

“Exposure to literature,” the researchers write in the Creativity Research Journal,“may offer a (way for people) to become more likely to open their minds.”

“The thinking a person engages in while reading fiction does not necessarily lead him or her to a decision,” they note. This, they observe, decreases the reader’s need to come to a definitive conclusion.

“Furthermore,” they add, “while reading, the reader can stimulate the thinking styles even of people he or she might personally dislike. One can think along and even feel along with Humbert Humbert in Lolita, no matter how offensive one finds this character.

“This double release—of thinking through events without concerns for urgency and permanence, and thinking in ways that are different than one’s own—may produce effects of opening the mind.”

From: psmag.com

A Place Only Deep Reading Can Take Us

“To understand why we should be concerned about how young people read, and not just whether they’re reading at all, it helps to know something about the way the ability to read evolved. … Unlike the ability to understand and produce spoken language, which under normal circumstances will unfold according to a program dictated by our genes, the ability to read must be painstakingly acquired by each individual.

“The “reading circuits” we construct are recruited from structures in the brain that evolved for other purposes—and these circuits can be feeble or they can be robust, depending on how often and how vigorously we use them.

“The deep reader, protected from distractions and attuned to the nuances of language, enters a state that psychologist Victor Nell, in a study of the psychology of pleasure reading,likens to a hypnotic trance. Nell found that when readers are enjoying the experience the most, the pace of their reading actually slows. The combination of fast, fluent decoding of words and slow, unhurried progress on the page gives deep readers time to enrich their reading with reflection, analysis, and their own memories and opinions. It gives them time to establish an intimate relationship with the author, the two of them engaged in an extended and ardent conversation like people falling in love.

This is not reading as many young people are coming to know it. Their reading is pragmatic and instrumental: the difference between what literary critic Frank Kermodecalls “carnal reading” and “spiritual reading.” If we allow our offspring to believe that carnal reading is all there is—if we don’t open the door to spiritual reading, through an early insistence on discipline and practice—we will have cheated them of an enjoyable, even ecstatic experience they would not otherwise encounter. And we will have deprived them of an elevating and enlightening experience that will enlarge them as people. Observing young people’s attachment to digital devices, some progressive educators and permissive parents talk about needing to “meet kids where they are,” molding instruction around their onscreen habits. This is mistaken. We need, rather, to show them someplace they’ve never been, a place only deep reading can take them.”

More: ideas.time.com