In Praise of Irresponsible Writing
The truest glory of creating with words is the pleasure of lesser consequences. Whereas burning down a building in the real world is full of woeful trauma, the tale of a burning building is Drama! Suspense! Excitement! Romance! When writing is play, humongous monsters can trash Tokyo, and wake up tomorrow to do it again. All is possible, and nothing is permanent in the world of words. It is true that someone can read words and use them to decide on action, but that is not happening within the stories themselves. Writing is a place where we can be free of thought, but at the same time share those thoughts with other people.
Current theory on learning holds that the greatest education is what happens when we play. Words can be play, and and a place to try out things I can’t bear the results of in the real world, or think that I can’t. When I play with words, I learn. The more that I learn, the more responsible I can be, because I can operate from a state of greater understanding. Reading the joyously written tales of other people shows me where our thoughts are kin or alien, gives me a mirror to my own mind, places me in a context of humanity, and reveals the secret that sharing thoughts with other people can be massively fun. The most important element of play is that one approaches the activity without internal or external coercion, though these may arise within the play itself. The motivation for continued open sharing comes from the pleasure of the activity, and will only be lessened by an overly controlling approach.
If we hold back, if we lie to please others, if we are silent on fearful or controversial issues, then we operate in a vacuum of information. How am I to know if what everyone represses is the same? How can I evaluate whether it should be repressed? Nobody can speak with authority, because of the paucity of sharing. Writing is a place where we can share these things with minimal damage; if we must be silent there on the pressing issues of our hidden passions, then where can we learn to know and understand them? Where can I simply say things I am afraid are true, that I believe to be true, or that I wish to be true? And if I can’t do these things, I will be lesser educated for it, I will be weaker in my own self-concept, I will be more arbitrary in my choices.
We have to be irresponsible somewhere in order to know ourselves and each other. Why not in the words of acknowledged fiction, where the consequences are least?