Monday, December 27, 2010

Writer's creed

What is truth?  Is truth unchanging law?  
We both have truths.  Are mine the same as yours? 
--Pontius Pilate, Jesus Christ Superstar
Yesterday morning at Peet's Coffee, I sat down with Dan, the writer.  We each held forth on this and that, but in particular, discussed what we believe to be the writer's creed.  Dan says the writer must serve as witness for humanity; that he must never waver from his duty to Truth.  In the moment that he devises a thought that is not True and presents that thought as the product of his craft, he is no longer a writer but a sophist or a propagandist or something else entirely.

Of course, hard and fast rules like this one are no sooner set down than immediately disproved.  As I've stated before, I don't believe human beings have the capacity to comprehend Truth.  But I agree completely with the spirit of Dan's assertion.

A writer does not create.  He transcribes; he illuminates; he documents.  He does it imperfectly, using his limited tools of perception and intellect which, when set against the incomprehensible vastness of the Universe, is less than minuscule.  But he is compelled to do it, nonetheless.

To the extent that I am able to meet this criterion, I rejoice.

1 comment:

Dan Binmore said...

In the case for the contrary position to the assertion "A writer does not create" I offer the following evidence:

I think it is simpler than the two of you were discussing, as is to be expected from writers. Writers write things, that is all, and all the things that can be written are within their purview.