Saturday 9 April 2011

More on writing

I'm in Oxford at the moment at my parents house. They have a whole shelf-full (shelful? shelfull? shelf-ful?) of books inherited from my grandfather and great aunt about Africa and India, mainly written in colonial times. I picked up one called 'The Dark Eye in Africa' by Laurens Van der Post, published in 1955. The title sounds quite ominous and I wondered what the 'dark eye' referred to. Far from being a fantasy as I imagined, Van der Post actually writes about racial tension and how he viewed this to be the source of many problems in Africa, in particular South Africa. Having judged the book on its dated cover and brown pages, I was surprised at the passion and sensitivity with which the author writes. Anyways to follow on from my previous post, in the introductory chapter, there is another great quote about writing:

"Art to me is the technique of presenting unrealised and hidden values to people potentially capable of appreciating and understanding those values. It is a means by which men can penetrate places in their minds and souls they had never reached before. Writing especially can be a kind of magic mirror which holds up to man and society the neglected and unrealised aspects of himself and his age. Writing can be many other things as well but at this desperate moment I think this may be its most important function" (p.16).


emma said...

Hi Katrina

Some great quotations on writing. I guess it's something we all (esp bloggers) do, but don't necessarily reflect upon. Do you think the purpose of writing changes over time or stays the same?

Unknown said...

I guess as in King's quote, there are many reasons for writing but it does need to be taken seriously (perhaps not always TOO seriously!) because words have such power. On the surface and on a personal level our purposes for writing may vary and evolve, but perhaps the underlying purpose of every writer is to CHANGE something through what they communicate? The thing that's challenging me at the moment is the importance of honesty in writing - whether fact or fiction, there needs to be truth otherwise the words are empty. What do you think?