Saturday, July 10, 2010

Writing is learning

What makes writing so interesting and exciting and sometimes frustrating is in the act of creating, either on a discussion board, or blog or writing the next best selling novel, the discovery of what you don't know. Because of what I don't know, I've learned a lot about what I don't know. I've learned how to find where that information is and then learned about what I was looking for. My new mantra to my kids is google it. (sorry all you other search engines out there, google is it) I'm not sure how much they appreciate the ease of this knowledge gathering. It used to be you had to have an encyclopedia set and if you weren't lucky enough to own one, you had to go to the library and hope they had what you were looking for, if you could even get to the library - walking up hill both ways in the snow. I still have the World Book Encyclopedia set my parents bought back in the 60's. There's probably little in it that's accurate today since so much of the world has changed. Our knowledge of the universe has increased ten-fold.

Today I got into a discussion with a friend about immigration and because I knew very little about it, had to look quite a lot up, specifically about the Arizona immigration law that has so many people in an uproar. I wanted specifics because if I'm going to have a discussion I want to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of what I'm talking about. I learned that New York City, LA, and Chicago have roughly the population of the estimated number of illegal immigrants in this country, or about 20 million people. This led me to wonder how on earth do you deport that many people, especially since the deportation process takes so long - up to 6 months and sometimes even longer. So I learned a little something about immigration, just enough to know it's a huge, immensely difficult situation that we've managed to get ourselves into and I've little hope it'll get fixed to anyone's satisfaction. Such is the political climate we live in.

Another search for my writing involved mythology and religion, two subjects I thought I didn't know much about but turns out I have a kind of ingrained knowledge since I discovered I've been writing quite a bit about mythology without really knowing it. My that was a long sentence. Ought to look up grammar maybe. I was trying to find another name for demon and came up with Belial, also Belhor, Baalial, Beliar, Belias, Beliall, Beliel, Bilael and so on. I learned that Belial is one of the four crown princes of Hell - I didn't know Hell had crown princes to begin with, so that was a bonus learning moment. I found out that Belial is present across a number of religious beliefs. Also interesting. Not sure if I'm going to use the name or not because I don't want there to be religious comparisons between my story and Christianity even though there probably would be if anyone ever has the chance to read the thing. There is it turns out a lot of religious symbolism and reference in the story, which I didn't consciously mean to put in there, or be about religion at all. That is what sometimes happens with writing - it just goes where it wants.

That is the joy of writing - it goes where it wants and you, the writer, have only to follow and let it take you to places you've never been, where you learn what you didn't know.

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