Why I Write

George_Orwell_in_Hampstead_-_geograph.org.uk_-_432863Today is Thursday March 21, 2013. 

In 1946, George Orwell (his real name was Eric Arthur Blair) wrote an essay titled “Why I Write”. It detailed his personal journey to becoming a writer. Orwell lists “four great motives for writing” which he feels exist in every writer. He explains that all are present, but in different proportions, and also that these proportions vary from time to time. They are as follows:

1. Sheer egoism – Orwell argues that many people write simply to feel clever, to “be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on grown-ups in childhood, etc.” He says that this is a great motive, although most of humanity is not “acutely selfish”, and that this motive exists mainly in younger writers. He also says that it exists more in serious writers than journalists, though serious writers are “less interested in money”.
2. Aesthetic enthusiasm – Orwell explains that present in writing is the desire to make one’s writing look and sound good, having “pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story.” He says that this motive is “very feeble in a lot of writers” but still present in all works of writing.
3. Historical impulse – He sums this up by simply stating this motive is the “desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.”
4. Political purpose – Orwell writes, “No book is genuinely free from political bias”, and further explains that this motive is used very commonly in all forms of writing in the broadest sense, citing a “desire to push the world in a certain direction” in every person. He concludes by saying that “the opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.”

After reading the essay, I came up with my list. They are as follows:

1. Ego/Hubris – I love to see my name listed as the author. I enjoy when my name appears on the cover of a magazine and in the table of comments of a magazine. I wish to see my name on the spine of a traditionally published book.
2. Educating People – I have loved when I have published a magazine article then get a telephone call, letter, or email asking for more information on the subject. Sometimes because of my writing, I have received job offers and speaking engagements. I enjoy informing people about historical events, writer’s lives, and the backgrounds of people and events.
3. Desire to influence others and be held in esteem by others – Maybe this goes with number one – Hubris. I recall the pride my oldest son had when he went to college and found several of my traditionally published magazine articles while doing research. He said it was somewhat cool to quote his father’s published work in a research paper. He said some of what I wrote for journals would be in the library forever.
4. Sharing my faith – I remember reading the late musician and former Beatles guitarist George Harrison’s memoir, “I, Me, Mine”. In the book, he says he purposefully wrote songs to share his beliefs and faith in Hare Krishna. I do the same to share my faith and belief in Jesus Christ. I try to do it in the normal flow of life as opposed to clobbering someone with the Bible.

If you write, why do you write?

Encourage your friends, keep reading and write.
Jimmie A. Keple
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Photo credits: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. English: George Orwell in Hampstead On the corner of Pond Street and South End Road, opposite the Royal Free Hospital. The bookshop has long gone. Date: 11 May 2007. Source: From geograph.org.uk

Review: I, Me, Mine

“I, Me, Mine” by George Harrison was an extremely challenging read. The book was at times boring, has poor structure, and lacked direction. You can feel George Harrison’s dry wit and humor in the pages of the book with the key word being dry.

Don’t expect to learn a lot about Harrison. The book lacks the tell all element that many want.

Harrison was obsessed with Krishna. He says in the text that he promoted his personal religious beliefs through his songs. He felt it critical to share his faith. Does that make him an evangelical Hare Krishna?

George does not describe much of his relationships with the other Beatles. Including the handwritten lyrics is a great bonus. This is a definite must-have for admirers of the Harrison. If you can find the book at the half-price book store or even you local library and love the Beatles and George, enjoy.

Review: Clapton: The Autobiography

Biographies are a passion for me. I approach each with an open mind ready to hear the writer’s story. My interest in music, love of rock and roll, and respect for great guitar musicianship lead me to read Eric Clapton’s autobiography.

Sex, booze, drugs and rock and roll fill the celebrated guitarist’s autobiography. As he retraces his career, from the early stints with the Yardbirds, Cream, and Derek and The Dominoes to his solo successes, Clapton also devotes great detail to his drug and alcohol addictions.

You get the back-story of his life as you learn he was raised by his grandparents. You learn that his mother was 15 when she became pregnant with him and that his father was a Canadian soldier. He struggles all his life with his background.

A major influence/obsession in his life was Pattie Boyd (former wife of Beatle George Harrison). His relationship with the Boyd for whom he wrote Layla culminated in a turbulent marriage. He spends great detail on their relationship as well as other female relationships.

I enjoyed reading about how he taught himself to play the guitar. I learned that he never learned to read music. He describes his playing style as a variation of the folk music claw-hammer style. He says he uses the top two strings of his guitar for the bass line, the middle two strings for rhythm, and the bottom two strings for playing lead guitar. He shares how he selected his guitars. We learn how the gauge of the strings and the distance between fret and neck influenced his ability to play.

You get the story of his son Connor, his accidental death, and the song Tears in Heaven.We learn of the impact of the death of Stevie Ray Vaughn on his life.

Clapton warms to the subject of his recovery, stressing its spiritual elements and how he started the Crossroads Clinic in Antigua. He eagerly discusses the fund-raising efforts for his Crossroads clinic and the Crossroads Guitar/Music Festivals he used to raise money for the clinics. Sharing this personal journey into addiction and recovery is therapeutic for him.

His reflecting is filled with humility, particularly in the form of unhappiness with his early successes. He professes ambivalence about the famous Clapton is God graffiti, although he admits he was grateful for the recognition from fans. At times, he sounds more like landed nobility than a rock star. He shares about his collection of contemporary art, enthusiastically defending his hunting and fishing as leisure activities, and extolling the qualities of his quiet country living. But both the youthful excesses and the current calm state are narrated with a charming tone that pushes Clapton’s story ahead of other rock and roll memoirs. This is a well written book that is worth the purchase price and time you invest in reading.