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What is writing really?

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By Evelyn McDonald A couple of months ago, I got several books from our one and only Laura Stone. Before that, I had read Stephen King’s On Writing. All of these books are well and good, they talk about the importance of grammar and character creation. However, they also talk about an overlaying message, of reaching out and having something important to say. A message for your audience to focus on and say, “This book is about the social structures of blah blah blah.” That’s fine. It’s ideal even. But what is writing really? It’s every heartthrob of a passion project; it’s the mind-numbing twists of a mystery caught in ink; it’s every thumb-burning turn of the page of a thriller; it’s every gut-wrenching unease of a dystopian. It’s whatever a story needs to be for you. When I write about my stories, be it ax-wielding lovers or superhuman child soldiers, the underlying point is that I wanted to write about this and be entertained. If I ever publish those stories and if anyone decides to read them, the point of each story is up to them. Whatever I wanted the story to be doesn’t matter when someone else reads it, because now it’s theirs.

Think back to when you were in high school and had to analytically look at every scrap piece of paper that had literature on it. It sucked, right? Why did everything have to have a point? Can’t I just read Lord of the Flies and be horrified at boys exiling each other on the same island without thinking about how the island is actually just society? Or whatever that book was about. I still haven’t figured that one out—good book, though. The thing is, when I read that book, it was my story. I was floating along with the boys, being stressed and hungry and fighting with the others, because deep down I was scared and without supervision. When William Golding wrote that story, it was his, and it had a different feeling and a different point. Now, I’m not saying go out and write something pointless. This little column could be considered pointless. However, there is a point that there doesn’t have to a be point. Write what you want how you want. If you want to write a rambling column about how points are pointless, go ahead. If you want to make a precise and pointy article or essay, have at it. In any which way you write anything, it’s yours. Give it the point it needs to make sense to you. When you put it out in the open, whoever is reading has a point they need for it. The point of this? Grammar is important, and writing doesn’t have to be so serious. Have fun with whatever you create, and if anyone asks what you were trying to say with a piece of writing, ask them, “What did it mean to you?”

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