Saturday, March 12, 2005

Quote - a writer's philosophy

My friend, Tim, sent a quotation to me earlier today, and I thought it would be appropriate to share here.

As many of you know, I write an Op-Ed column for the London Free Press. In the process, I have fairly regularly stuck my neck out on issues that tend to polarize readers. Every time I've dug my stake in the ground, I've done so with the firm knowledge that I'd be sitrring up a tempest in the process.

But I've never done so in fear or with any sort of hesitation. I'm privileged to have the opportunity to regularly publish, and I decided early on to use the space to change the world - even if it's in some small, barely-visible manner. If it prompts some people to disagree with me, I'm absolutely fine with that. At least I've reached them. And even if they want to hurl partially-open ketchup packets at me, that's fine, too. Perhaps I've helped them view their world through a slightly wider perspective - which is really all that matters.

The writer is Thomas Merton. The work is True Solitude:
"If a writer is so cautious that he never writes anything that cannot be criticized, he will never write anything that can be read. If you want to help other people, you have got to make up your mind to write things that some men will condemn.”
Your turn: I guess you know how I feel about Mr. Merton's words. How do they make you feel? Do you have any other similar quotations to share in a comment? (I'll be posting more of my own, but I'm hoping you'll feel free to share some from your world, too.)


Lynda said...

What do I think about this quote? I think there is great value here, however, is all writing a means to "help" others? I know I am possibly spreading the quote too thin, but I do believe writing has different purposes and some of those purposes do not require the taking of a stance - some is just pure pleasure.

I do support writers sharing their own opinions and ideas. We all seem to feed on the the thoughts of others even when those thoughts are the result of another feeding on your original idea.

So, in a skewed memory of John Denver, "Write On!"

BarbaraMG said...

The reason I read blogs is to learn more and hopefully open my very closed mind. If everyone wrote as to not be criticized the world would be void of any expression.
I read many blogs. The lifestyle and views in many of the blogs I disagree with. Why do I continue to read? I am not God and I have to right to make judgements on people. The thing is I still do! I still judge. However, the more I keep reading the more my heart grows to love these people as individuals and I believe that is part of our purpose here on earth.
PS-I hoe I didn't offend you with my religious views. Ha!

musingwoman said...

Hi, Carmi,

I love your blog and read it faithfully, so I included it my sidebar. :-)

About the quote—I'm glad you shared it. It reminded me of times when I’ve argued my way into changing my mind! In trying to show why someone else’s view was wrong, I came to see the error in my own thinking instead.

If we only share what everyone will agree with, then we shut down opportunities to learn from each other. said...

I do agree with Mr. Merton if you are too cautious nothing of value will be written. However I think Voltaire had it right when he said “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”

No man has all the answers and the ones that think they do are usually the most wrong. But a man that ask questions that make others think is one worth knowing – one that has the ability to both learn and to teach.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog, and yes you even have helped me with some great advice and writing. And i list you too.

I do take risks when i write, especially when i delve into politics, being dual Cit, I get it from many sides.

I think it is "All about the questions?" It all begins with a question.

Some times I have them, and sometimes I give them. That's the art of writing. Share what you know, say what you feel, tug at the emotions and tell it like you see it.

No one will have the same take on any issue you write about, or see it from your point of view until you present it.

You keep on changing the world.

I think you should hang that piece on a wall near the traffic areas so that people will see it.

Find that special piece of wall.