We write for many and various reasons. Often we have something inside us which is burning to be released. Some writers are natural storytellers and their stories flow out of them (I am so envious of these writers.) They write to entertain themselves and their readers. Other writers slug it out, scene by scene, chapter by chapter. There is no doubt some people write to know and understand themselves and their life experiences. In this regard, memoir has become a popular genre In the past couple of decades. For yet other writers, their writing is a form of escapism from their everyday lives and from current events in the world. Then we have the serious writers (often in non-fiction) who write to inform, to persuade, to warn and not least, to bring the truth out into the open.
Over the centuries writers have penned their words in the most extreme places. One such place is a prison which, when you come to think about it, is not as unsuitable as it first appears. After all, prisoners have time on their hands, lots of it, and they also have opportunity, being locked up for many hours every day. The prisoner’s mind is the only part of them which is free to remember, to wander and to imagine.
In ‘The Gulag Archipelago,’ Alexander Solzhenitsyn describes how he was able to write in the hellhole of a Soviet labour camp and how his writing contributed in no small way to his survival:
“…I had been trying to write a poem for two years past. This was very rewarding, in that it helped me not to notice what was being done with my body. Sometimes in a sullen work party with Tommy-gunners barking about me, lines and images crowded in so urgently that I felt myself borne through the air, overleaping the column in my hurry to reach the work site and find a corner to write. At such moments I was both free and happy.” (‘The Gulag Archipelago,’ pp 355-356)
Did the camp guards let the zeks (prisoners) sit about in a little corner at the mine, or quarry or forest and write? No. Solzhenitsyn was referring to his own memory as the place in which could write and keep his writing private and safe. He had no paper and no pen and no ink and even if he had possessed these basic writing materials, they would have been found and taken off him in a routine body search. More than half-starved and worked to death’s door, he painstakingly memorised his writing. What the Stalinists could not strip him of was his mind and its ability to create and remember.
How incredibly fortunate that we, in 2022, can sit in our comfortable writing spaces, surrounded by our devices and tools, and write. Please let me know your own reasons for writing and what part does it play in your life?
Wishing you a marvellous Christmas and New Year,
LLOYD MOSS publishing
p.s. For any aspect of writing, editing or self-publishing, please jump in and contact us via the website contact form, or by text, phone (0421 998749) or email firstname.lastname@example.org We are open and working over December 2022 and January 2023 (except for the public holidays, of course).