Archive | April, 2011

Writing as……

4 Apr

So, what do you think?

“I write entirely to find out what I think, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.” This particular quote is attributed to Joan Didion, but it is an incredibly common statement, usually uttered as a valediction of the writing process. (CF – Stephen King – I write to find out what I think.) These statements are, at least as uttered by writers, uncritical benedictions of the process of writing. But examined more closely, these statements seem to reveal a somewhat uncertain connection between an idea and its eventual home in words.  At what point does the process, especially its mechanical, instinctive elements, begin to exert unexpected control over the contents of the articulated thought. The need to persuade or advocate, implicit in any communication, seems likely to begin to shape the content of the point that writing advocates. In the context of novelists, the causal connections between the writer, the act of writing, and the end result, seem relatively unimportant. For the reader, the end result, the written text, is the only thing that matters. Furthermore, in the context of writers such as Didion & King, the reader has the freedom to either agree or disagree with the thought which they have articulated. However, the mandatory power upon human action produced by a written judicial opinion is far beyond the imagination of writers who don’t act with the power of the state behind them. Below the fold, I explore some of the complications that the act of writing by judges has on our traditional notions of the role of the judiciary. Continue reading

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