|Artist: Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts|
An admittedly short and inadequate history of the written word:
When writing first emerged, it was a simple method of keeping track of how many of this or that you had. Then it was a technique reserved for the most valuable or sacred texts, and something only a few, those with time and/or money, could master. But later on, as cheaper tools for writing developed and written language became more standardized, many great authors emerged: Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens - the list goes on. And that, I sometimes think, is the problem.
What in the world could there be left to write that all of these brilliant minds have not already written? How could I possibly create, with almost the same words, anything they did not? Why should I keep writing if I am only rewriting what was penned five, ten, and a hundred years ago?
And yet I do. And as I do, I realize there is a newness inside the sameness of every word. Even the same word repeated again and again and again and again and again...has a new meaning each time.
Writers chronicle not only their own thoughts, ideas, and history, but that of their world - everyone and everything around them - whether intentionally or not. We do repeat ourselves and each other, but only in the way history does. Again and again and again and again - the same, but different.
Remembering the newness stops me from not writing. It reminds me that enough ink has been spilled for the time that has passed, but more is needed for this moment, and the next, and the next.
(This is another one of those products of having eternity in our hearts, I think. If you don't know what I mean, click the link to see my last post. There is so much more to this train of thought than I was able to articulate here, but at least this is a starting point for thought. There will have to be more on this later.)