The ultimate morality of literary writing remains, nevertheless, nevertheless,
the probity, and the freedom, with which it uses language: this is
what makes writing one of the great adventures of the human mind and
. . .
Imagine being abandoned on a desert island, far from the nearest air
corridor or sea lane, unvisited by passing ships or crossing aircraft.
Imagine the island is surrounded by a wide, shallow beach swept twice
a day by the tide erasing all marks from its gray flat surface. Also
imagine that on this island there are, freely scattered on the ground,
twigs and branches and driftwood and bits of rock and shell, all of
which you could easily use for writing or drawing on the sand if you
so wished. And imagine you may have to spend the rest of your life
on this island. So, there you have it: a huge, inviting page, lots
implements for drawing and writing, and all the time in the world.
My question is this: would you scribble words~stories, poems, essays,
meditations, descriptions of your daily activities, hymns to the ocean,
editorials to the clouds, whatever~day after day across that inviting
space of beach, even though you knew there was little chance of your
words ever being seen and the certainty they would be washed away
every night by the advancing tide?
What's the point if you couldn't communicate with anyone~wouldn't
it be a waste of time and energy that might be better spent doing
almost anything else? And you'd probably be right: it would be pointless
and foolish and silly. But would you have the lunacy, the infatuated
romanticism, the love affair with futility and the endless possibilities
of language, that it takes to be a writer?