Yikes Just Kidding it’s totally absurd to measure the significance of any written words. There's no metric for that. But I’ve been preoccupied with the idea of the writing of words lately, and if we’ve talked in the past month I’ve probably asked you why you write things down. It is a perilous thing, to solidify one's thoughts. On the one hand, it is tracing what you can barely see through a dark glass. But it also might be the most deliberate and unembellished of all self expression. Here are some solidified thoughts, about the solidification of thoughts, that have helped me.


“I would not ordinarily undertake a discussion of form in art, nor would I undertake a discussion of content. To me, they are inseparable. Form is formulation—the turning of content into a material entity, rendering a content accessible to others, giving it permanence, willing it to the race. Form is as varied as are the accidental meetings of nature. Form in art is as varied as idea itself. . . . Form is not just the intention of content; it is the embodiment of content. Content may be and often is trivial. But I do not think that any person may pronounce either upon the weight or upon the triviality of an idea before its execution into a work of art. It is only after its execution that we may note that it was fruitful of greatness or variety or interest.” —Ben Shahn, The Shape of Content

“Two causes seem to have generated the art of poetry as a whole, and these are natural ones: (i) Representation is natural to human beings from childhood. They differ from the other animals in this: man tends most towards representation and learns his first lessons through represenatation. Also (ii) everyone delights in representation.” —Aristotle, Poetics bk 1

“Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.” —Emma Coats, Pixar’s 22 Rules of Story Writing

“Stories are our prayers, so write and edit and tell them with due reverence.” —Jacqui Banaszynski, from Nieman Reports

“My memory is bad. I need to write down each day to recap, whether or not I revisit it later. Just like in class or during a sermon, taking notes helps me remember. Maybe later I might read it, and see a bigger pattern over time, and realize, oh that’s why I felt that way that day. And maybe I won't ever read it. Either way, writing immortalizes that one thought. There are many thoughts at any one moment, but the written one is the one that could live on. . . . Another big reason why I write. It gives voice to the parts of myself that are voiceless.” —Linda Liang

“I write to work out my thoughts—I can think well and process. It’s a reflection of self. It makes me honest. Making thoughts permanent makes you want to make it true.” —Catherine Con

“I need to write down, in order to see what I think.” —my mother

“I write my prayers, I write them deliberately to never read them again.” —Jess Yan