I have heard it again, the remark floating in the air
when a reader picks up pages that he or she does not appreciate by a not-so-well-known writer, someone accusing someone else
of “pretending to write”. I may not be capable of speaking for everyone here, but I do not believe there is any
such honest endeavor as “pretending to write”. Someone either has or has not written something. Writing
is defined in Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary as: 1) the “act or art of forming visible letters
or characters” and 2) “a letter note or notice used to communicate or record”. It is my suspicion that when
someone is accused of “pretending to write” the critic is taking a shot at explaining that he or she does not
agree with the communication taking place.
and writers may be critiqued on their form, style, content, technique and audience integration. Clarity and appreciation of
literary standards is the primary aim of such critiques given to improve a writer’s contributions for the readers or
to teach writers how to best utilize established practices successfully. When these critiques become a method of rendering
popular opinion, the message sent is that critics do not appreciate the method of communication rendered or messages sent
within a writer’s communication.
It is a scary world, in the art
form of writing, when writers are accused of “pretending to write” simply due to a desire for them to be discouraged
from communicating. Image and popularity have become so ingrained in our culture that “pretending to write” as
a put down is often followed by the observation that “even if you write, no one would ever read your work”. This
is not just personal enmity; those who phrase such words at writers are explaining that they do not value the cultural contribution
of writers communities unless they are “approved” and that the freedom of expressing ideas and values in society
is only to be granted to writers that can present larger approving readerships. I have faith that writers will continue
to write despite these mentalities.
On a personal level, I know what it
means to run up against this in people. I have heard worse from my own with questions about “Why write? No one cares.”
and other such things. I write because I care. I write believing that in a wide and varied planet Earth, I will find others
that care as well. Sometimes the best writing is because I care AND others care and I can write beyond my own backyard to
encompass the communication needs for others.
Beware the idea that writers
are trained monkeys typing “visible letters or characters”. Writers strive to better their craft through
form, style and technique to reach readers with content that is clear to those willing to interact with communication on the
pages. All audience members will not embrace every writer’s communications in writing. On the other hand, writers continue
to write regardless of those that “pretend” otherwise.