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I was reading Andrei Tarkovsky's 'Sculpting in Time' and he refers to the responsibility of the artist.

 

"The artist [writer] has no right to an idea to which [they are] not socially committed, or the realisation of which could involve a dichotomy between [their] professional activity and the rest of [their] life."

 

The world stage is full of images of the horrors of Oslo, the pictures of the young people of Norway scan across our screens. We see what happens when Nietzsche's 'superman'  (Breivik) imposes their 'will' through brute force. Carnage, horror and scenes more akin to Brueghel's 'The Triumph of Death' ensue.

 

As writer's do we have a responsibility to offer a alternative way of imagining the world which can lead to creating a different future, ameliorating the powerlessness of the disenfranchised, where personal anonymity isn't resolved by the violence of the gun? Does our writing reflect our social commitments, or are we attempting to escape the Friday Horror Show in Oslo by cultivating a dichotomy between our work and the rest of our lives?

In redescribing, re-imagining the world, can we engage our readers to do the same?

 

Geoff

 

 

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I don't know about you, but I strongly believe we do! And for three reasons.

1) Books are amazing. They can offer an entirely new view on the most simple of things! And when someone reads something like that, how can they help but feel dazed and in awe? They want more! And when it is currently unavailable, they'll create more themselves!
2) The human mind is very easily shaped, especially at younger ages. So, for example, when someone reads a book talking about the things mentioned, they're compelled to think that way.

3) This same impression we're talking about giving our readers, is the same impression bringing me here today! When I was younger, I read a book that had amazing descriptions of a world inside a book. It's true this was a fictional story, but the whole basis the author used was our society today! She took it and twisted it to form the most incredible, mind-grabbing book I had ever read at the time! And, referring to number 2, I was only in the 3rd grade at the time, so my mind was VERY impressionable, so ever since then, I've had that twisted way of the world on my mind, and ever since then, I've been able to view the simplest things in the most miraclulous ways!

So to answer your question, yes. I believe that by taking the world and re-designing it, we can compell our readers to do the exact same! I'm proof of that myself! :)

Hi Callie,

 

Thanks for your reply. Now, you've got to tell me what that book was, that spoke to you so profoundly! Please! Who do you consider today to be authors who carry the same imaginative spell for a young audience?

 

G

 

 

Well it was a bit of a childish book, but like I said, I was little! It's called Inkheart by Cornelia Funke! I've mentioned it in a few other threads too! Today, I think that anyone has the ability to twist reality, but it takes a true author to actually put it down on paper!

Geoff Hall said:

Hi Callie,

 

Thanks for your reply. Now, you've got to tell me what that book was, that spoke to you so profoundly! Please! Who do you consider today to be authors who carry the same imaginative spell for a young audience?

 

G

 

 

Yes. I have always enjoyed and been influenced (even subconsciously) by the books I have read. A book to me must leave me feeling happy about life and with energy and inspiration to move forward. If the book provides an escape, and alternative view of reality, or even is a pure flight of someone's imagination, doesn't matter what matters to me is that I enjoy it and it carries me along with its magic.

I must admit, now I don't read any book that is set just to shock the reader, there has to be a point to it. Horror for horror's sake alone just gets me closing the covers with disappointment.

To answer the question, yes the writer has a grave responsibility to the reader. Ideas are powerful when penned by a master story teller, they can influence the world and it must all be carefully done, especially for children's books. How we set the minds thinking today, will effect the actions of tomorrow.

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