Ernest Hemingway said, “You have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously,” in a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Writing in itself is a very tedious process. It requires much from the human spirit. But, if there is a divine discontent stirring deep in the soul, it must come out. Dr. Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”
Just like the truth, it refuses to remain hidden. Jean Racine writes, “There are no secrets that time does not reveal.” It is comparable to the Greek Myth where King Midas’ barber was told to keep a secret about the king’s donkey ears. The barber could not bear it any longer so he went up high into the mountains, dug a hole in the midst of some reeds and whispered the secret. He had gotten it off his chest, but then Echo picked it up and it was scattered all over the world
In much the same way, writers unburden themselves when they feel that the world is too much with them, as Wordsworth wrote. They pick up a pen or sit at a computer and let their fingers move until they have unleashed the energy in some creative form. Some people can walk right pass a ghastly situation and remain unmoved or unaffected. Others may feel it, but don’t know how to process their emotions so they cling to other outlets to mask their pain.
Writers and poets express though it may be in the form of fiction. It may have artificial names and invented towns, but there is a message at the core of the story. There has been some observation of life that cannot be ignored and the writer is compelled to develop a literary work.
And that is how thoughtful stories are spun and library shelves are filled. Final products such as Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily or Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye or Hemingway’s A Sun Also Rises were born along with a long host of other literary works.
These observers saw the events unfolding around them and they had to do something to survive them, so they wrote. Faulkner dealt with small town life; Morrison, the daily routines of an oppressed domestic and Hemingway, wartime Europe from the eyes of an American.
They each spoke their truth and decided to wrap it up in candy wrappers, so it wouldn’t be too bitter. Readers digested it and the obvious reply was a resounding yes, because they are all considered to be masters of literature!
Lynn M. April 18, 2016