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Some Thoughts...

Hummingbird's picture

Throughout high school and college, I've used writing as a form of personal expression. Personal essays have been my way of coming to moments of self discovery and reflection. I don't often think of my creative writing pieces, at least, as for some purpose other than the personal. On the other hand, when reading the work of others I find myself consciously and subconsciously making connections back to the text. I expect the texts to help me improve or learn in some way and I often expect that growth or understanding to come immediately. 

It's hypocritical of me to expect to have to do something after I read these trauma novels, or Wideman's memoir about his brother. Perhaps, in regards to my own writing, I'm simply being selfish because I don't expect others to need to understand my work in some significant way – the writing process has always been about just that: the process. However, it's also selfish of me to assume that other writing is for my benefit – and not the work of someone who thinks in much the same way I do about the process. I've been struggling with the idea that perhaps what we need to do after reading these heavy works is to step back and let them sit with us when what I want to do is take some kind of action. 

When I finished Brothers and Keepers, I wanted to start a petition or take some kind of action for Wideman's brother. I think, though, that his intention may have been more personal – to serve as a reflection on his relationship with his brother as opposed to a call to action.