Writers Journey: You Need Philosophy...

When I started the Writers Journey series of articles, I made mention that a writer must have something to say. Further to that is: a writer needs to tap into some universal truths about the human psyche or condition. Even during periods of popular writing styles which went against such sentiments, such as the trenche-de-vie (slice-of-life) style, the most enduring of those works ended up touching upon core truths by way of subtext or analogy even when their writers were attempting not to do that. In fact I would argue that part of writing is drilling down into a thought so far that you end up striking literary oil whether you wanted to or not. Most writers will eagerly tell you about their defining moments, moments when they really got into a piece of work. It’s the point where they can feel the whole of the work coalescing together like water slipping rapidly down the vacuum of a drain. But how does a writer hone this skill for finding the core truths of life? There is the ultimate draft upon draft way until you blindly hit upon something. There are also other ways. One way of writing with something to say is to study philosophy. Here, you probably are wrinkling up your nose. And I did. When I started getting serious about writing in my early twenties I could not be bothered with such challenges. But there comes a point where life itself may toss a writer upon the rocks and leave them bereft of every floating surface that ever buoyed their perception of reality. Most people call this a mid-life crisis and when it comes it usually shakes up life and forces someone to find a new point of view. The mid-lifer reassesses life. Some people...