Why Do I Write? To see what language is capable of. To explore dimensions of the self that language allows us to enter and roam. To meet the characters who can tell me what it means to be human. As a means of thinking about thinking, to engage in literary metacognition. As a means of seeing a different kind of truth.
Want to see emotions as possessions? As animals? Just use words. Jealousy snarled from across the room. Done. Want more? Sure, why not. In her cage, desperate to be let out after weeks in that cramped purgatory.
After years of studying Cognitive Linguistics, I think its crux is this: Language and thought are deeply entwined (inextricably so, for many of us), each shaping the other—language structures thought and vice versa. In these enmeshed skeins of our humanity, wondrous realities and potentialities await us. That being said, why wouldn’t I write? Why would I not take dives into the cockles of this most fruitful of relationships between human qualities? To be immersed in the very substance of invention and meaning, to then surface exhausted but refreshed, having seen the stuff of countless worlds, that is the kind of Monday morning I simply cannot turn down.
In an interview with John Brockman, Steven Pinker remarked that, “Language was the real innovation in our biological evolution; everything since has just made our words travel farther or last longer.”
You may disagree—you may contend that opposable thumbs or altruism really made us a force to be reckoned with—but there’s no denying the vital role language has played in our species’ ascension to dizzying heights of achievement. To write is to wield an essence of being human.
Language is irrefutably part of our heritage and future. Legacy and destiny. Legacy as Destiny. I write to claim both.