If I were to ask you to sit down and define what a baker does, what would you say? One might say that a baker’s job is simply to bake cakes. Someone else might want to include other confections such as pastries and cookies. Another person might argue that baking is an art that involves precise measurements, a steady hand, and great attention to detail. Who of these people is wrong? The answer, of course, is nobody. All of these people’s definitions of what it means to be a baker are accurate. However, each person has a different perspective on what it means to be a baker.
The same goes for what it means to be a writer. We cannot take a world of people with different values and place them all within the same parameters. It just doesn’t work. There is no cookie-cutter idea of what it means to be a writer.
When I write, I speak about what matters to me at the time. Sometimes, I write about political issues. Other times, I vent about school or work. Then there are days when I feel like writing a love poem. These topics are quite different from one another, but they still contribute to myself as a writer. I think that Arundhati Roy was trying to get this across in her article, Power Politics. She posed the question of whether or not writing has a definable role that can be fixed or characterized in a definite way. My answer to that is no, it absolutely cannot. That’s not to say that there aren’t writers who write for specific mediums. But if John Grisham, for instance, who is known for his legal thrillers, decided one day to write a YA Lit book, who are we to stop him?
As Roy states in her article, “There are no excuses for bad art. Painters, writers, singers, actors, dancers, filmmakers, musicians are meant to fly, to push the frontiers, to worry the edges of the human imagination, to conjure beauty from the most unexpected things, to find magic in places where others never thought to look.” To me, writing is about exactly that. It’s about escaping to a place of beauty that you may overlook in your busy life. To stop and take a moment to savor a world in an imagined place. There are some arguably bad writers out there who have cult followings of people who love their work. To those people, that artist’s work is what writing is all about.
Rose, Charlie. “Charlie Rose – John Grisham on Developing Plot.” Charlie Rose. Charlie Rose, 29 Jan. 2008. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. <http://www.charlierose.com/view/clip/9508>.