By Troy Headrick
Several days ago I needed to leave the writing center I manage and walk to the college library to pick up some reading that is relevant to some research I am doing. So I turned the center over to my very capable tutors and began the ten-minute stroll across campus to the building where they keep stacks and stacks of books, the collected wisdom of the ages.
I checked out what I needed and walked back to the center, carrying one thick and one thin tome with me. As soon as I walked through the center door, Kate, a very talented tutor with an MA in English, asked, “How was the library?”
“Full of books!” I answered.
“I bet,” she said.
Almost as soon as she’d put her question to me, I said, “You know, if I were working on my PhD in psychology, I think I’d write a dissertation on why people feel like they have to write books. What is their motivation? Where does this need to write and share one’s thinking come from?”
“That would be an interesting topic,” Kate replied.
I then sat down at my desk and began to have several thoughts. One of them was this: I think I just found a topic for my next Pointless Overthinking blog.
Okay, so why do people feel the need to write down what’s in their heads and then publish it? Clearly, the desire to write and share has been around for as long as people have. Some inner urge pushed me to record this and then post it for all to see. What’s up with that?
I hate to think in either/or terms, but I’m going to do so now to promote thought and discussion. Are writers who record their thoughts and then share them doing so for selfish reasons, or is this act altruistic?
I mean, I could hold these same ideas in my mind without ever uttering them? So why did I feel the need to say all this aloud? Is this a form of showing off? Am I hoping to make a difference in people’s lives by sharing all this?
The more I think about these questions, the more fascinated I become. I generally think of myself as a shy person, but why would such an individual invite such attention? (Maybe I don’t know myself as well as I think I do? Maybe I’m really an exhibitionist?)
I have no idea what the answers to these queries are, but I think they’re wonderful food for thought. What do you have to say to all this?
Troy Headrick’s personal blog can be found at Thinker Boy: Blog & Art.