Writing from the Nadir, but Reaching for the Zenith.

When I was at university in the heady old days of the early '90s, I read a book as part of my research for my dissertation on African-American literature called "Writing from the Nadir". I can't remember now who wrote the book, but the title has stuck in my mind, being, to me at least, somewhat poetic. The idea of writing as a means of improving one's lot appealed to me greatly. and it was as if the title of this book was suggesting that even if one was stuck at the bottom of the social, political and economic heap, one could at least write to explain one's position and attempt to educate wider society, and by doing so even effect change. Indeed, I found out that the first so-called "slave narratives" were such instructive texts, written largely in the hope of expressing the plight of the enslaved African-American community to a wider, white readership, in the process aiding the abolitionist cause. Perhaps one could go even further and suggest that such writing affirmed the existence of a selfhood within society which that society either sought to deny or eradicate. It was as if the authors of these texts literally wrote themselves into being.
Perhaps writing is different than other art forms in that anyone can do it. All you need is a pen and some paper, or nowadays a laptop and a blog, to get started. As the poet Simon Armitage has attested, anyone can write a poem. It may or may not be any good, but unlike with film, for example, you don't need to have vast swathes of money to do it. And so it is that writing can be the most personal and expressive of all the arts, and as some of the early feminists would say, the personal is also sometimes political.
In my last post I wrote of my sometime consternation that more interest isn't taken in my own writing endeavours, but I would hope that this blog will serve as a document of what it is like to experience mental ill health. Hopefully this personal account has its own political agenda, and will at least change the perspective of some who read it. Indeed, I feel that, like the slave narrative authors, I write to affirm a self in a world all too ready to neglect and discriminate against that self, and as I look over past blog posts I am reminded of who I was then, and who I have become, and I truly believe that this writing has formed part of who I am. I have written myself into being. And, as Oscar Wilde said, we are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are reaching for the stars. So it is that I've written from the nadir, but hopefully with the thought always in mind that we are all of us reaching for the zenith.              


bazza said…
Hello David. very interesting point about the value and uniqueness of writing as a means of expression.
I would definitely say that if you wait for people to come to your Blog it will be a long wait! You have to work at it if you want to spread the word and the easiest way to do that is by visiting and commenting in appropriate places; get yourself 'seen'. It is possible to find other like-minded Blogs via their labels and titles of course.
Best regards, Bazza.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’
klahanie said…
Hi David,

You have had a thoughtful comment from the illustrious bazza, otherwise known as Barry. Now then, you can stop your official or unofficial thumb-twiddling in regards to getting a comment from me. Yes indeed, at almost one in the morning, on Sunday, June 5, I have arrived! Yay and gosh!

Enough of my waffling. I shall leave the waffling to the likes of the despicable David Cameron.

Your writing is, most assuredly, a reflection of the intellectual thoughts, the emotive thoughts and yes, self-affirmation. No matter what, your writing is a form of cathartic therapy than you choose to share with the world. Your blog, an email to the world, if you like.

As you know, I don't self-promote my blog. However, to echo Barry, you have to get out there, be proactive and seek out those blogs conducive to your ideals. As in the quote from, "Field of Dreams", ""If you build it, he will come." The baseball field of life and the players are fellow bloggers ready to play ball with you. I know, what the hell. I blame my rambling on a lack of sleep.

As you were, David.


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