Many moons ago (about ten years) when I did my English Literature degree, I was in a seminar discussing ownership of words and ideas. The basis of my lecturer’s theory was that once words have been written you can’t control them. It doesn’t matter how clear you are during the writing process, once your words are being “consumed” they’re no longer yours to shape.
I like to imagine it as a little scene inside a dusty old attic.
The writer is hard at work, bent over a creaky table writing in longhand. The words come alive, dancing on the page. He has a choice to let the words be free, or to shut them in a box. He chooses freedom, knowing that is also the end of his control. Standing at an open window, the writer watches his words flutter out into the world, ready to climb inside the head of anyone who reads them. The writer can’t follow the words inside every head. He can only stand at the window and wave his words goodbye.
It’s not a new idea, but it’s one I think is still incredibly current – especially in the 140 character Twitter world in which we live.
Let me explain. Continue reading »