In this very short piece, Temitayo Olofinlua makes a defence for writing...you tell us why you think writing is still relevant. The piece was first published on the Future website. Read and comment...
The title sure makes me sound like an advocate for writing. All you can see is a lawyer trying to make a case for writing. The question shouldn’t really be is writing now irrelevant? Permit me to tweak it a bit—was writing ever relevant? If it was, why will it stop being relevant?
An attempt to answer these questions takes us on an historical trip to the origins of writing. And raise more questions. No one knows exactly when writing started but fingers have pointed to Mesopotamia and Egypt as the first sites of writing. Before then, all we had was speech. First question—why was speech insufficient? There was an increasing need to trap moments, to keep records. Writing met that need. Over the years, the functions of writing expanded to include storytelling and commemoration of the dead.
Fast forward to 2010—a fast paced world that threatens to leave you behind in the labyrinth of time. Writing has captured; preserved and transferred reality as it occurs across miles. We write our lives daily on Twitter. We start revolutions on Facebook. We take records with our diaries. Obits fill newspapers. Writing is with us. Unlike many things that die with time, writing has recreated itself in many forms—novels, newspapers, magazines, films, plays, internet, e-books, phones, amongst others. Writing has taken on many forms beyond handwriting; has it lost its significance? No!
Final questions—what’s the relevance of writing to the writer, the reader and the society? Writing makes us laugh; cry; smile; get angry; take action; pleases us. Writing humanizes us. Writing freezes moments in words. Until speech (or any other thing) outmatches writing in these ways, it may take a while before writing takes a backseat of irrelevance.