The dying art of writing

An essay by Max Edwards.

Literature is not what it once was. Gone are the days when writing was an admirable profession, when kings and queens would join the common men’s delight in seeing a simple play written by one such as Shakespeare, who is possibly the most well-known of all authors or play writes. Gone are the classics of literature, honoured again and again in classrooms around the world, that are seen as the epitome of writing. Homer is now a cartoon character instead of the best fantasy writer to have ever existed, the creator of many myths still spoken of today, and who formed the basis of almost every successful fantasy novel, with the Odyssey.

What I am saying is that writing in this day and age is seen as ‘stupid’, ‘a waste of time’, etc, simply because many people no longer read for the pure pleasure of reading, or write for the pleasure of writing. Writing is now for the masses, for the Silver Screen. I turn now to one of my favourite examples of terrible writing, Harry Potter. This children’s book has made its ‘creator’ the first billionaire author, simply because it follows a formula and is supposedly ‘creative’. I witnessed, to my utter horror, a published author say on national television, and I quote, that ‘Harry Potter is the most imaginative book I have ever read’.

This shocked me. Harry Potter is hardly imaginative: a school, magic, silly and childish names for clichéd magicians; where is the imagination? JK Rowling quite simply may have read other myths and legends, other successful series of years gone by, and put them all together.

However, this is not the only example of terrible writing in recent years. I could name dozens, yet I deign not to.

Writing and literature, as I have said many times in this work, has ‘gone out the window’, because authors don’t write to make a point, to say to the world ‘this is it! this is what I think!’; no, they write to sell, and that is where this world is sickest. Books to me were never an item for sale, and writing to me has always been about expression, the preservation of knowledge, not a profession. If I wanted to make loads of money, I would invent a PC operating system, not write.

I step into a bookstore, I look at the selection available, I read the blurbs, and I see some decent writing, something I would enjoy reading, yet it is stashed away in the back of the section, away from the ‘popular’ and dare I say, simple, bestsellers.

One author, a favourite of mine, as he must be to thousands, possibly millions, of others, is Tolkien. Not because of this new movie, not because everybody else enjoys it, but because it is good writing with deep feeling, with real effort in the words. And yet, before this year, when the movie was released, you could say the name Tolkien, and people would reply with a vapid ‘eh?’.

Was he ever recognised as being ‘brilliant’ before he passed away? No. That place is for ‘authors’ such as JK Rowling.

Now I may sound like an unpublished writer slandering the worlds favourite prodigy wizard, and that may be true, but I believe I am saying what many others are.

And so I come to the point: ‘literature’ is no longer an art; it is a business. Words, in all their beauty, have been replaced by a dollar sign.