There’s the wonderful quote by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) that rumors of his death were “exaggerations.” I wonder if this is something that has happened to the power of the written word. I wonder if we have come to accept the notion that life has been reduced to postings on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube or 10-second television sound bites to the degree that the written word in the form of essays and books is irrelevant, anachronistic, the domain only of the most academicians and other “intellectuals.” Perhaps the death of the word has been exaggerated.
Perhaps the word is only badly injured, in intense need of rehabilitation, not altogether abandoned to the landfill of history. Perhaps it will rise like Lazarus. Because it is the word that makes us human. And, as much as we may admire the great apes and the infinitesimal bacteria, as much as we are ashamed of what humans have done in the name of humanity, we should also be proud of what we are: Thinking, choosing, curious beings. Beings who can express complex and wonderful thoughts to each other. Beings who can be moved by what we read, whose lives are affected by what we read.
There will always be diversions, ways for us not to think. Who can blame us? There are plenty of good reasons not to think, not to dig beneath the surface of the reality presented to us.
But there will always people who do think, who have not given up, who have not stopped trying to figure out how to make better sense out of this world.
I guess that’s why I write. And why I read.