Have you ever tried to swallow hot porridge?
It’s a futile attempt at controlling temperature that results in a swollen tongue, scorched throat, and tears, bucketloads of tears. How do I know? I was young and foolish, that’s how.
I bought a copy of my first newspaper of the year this past Saturday. I didn’t want much from it except a page or two on Literature that’s featured in the Daily Nation Saturday paper. It did not disappoint. The title Literature is under siege, but literary intellectuals are silent. I remember looking at that article and spreading the paper on my sister’s blue carpet as I walked into her kitchen to fix my second cup of coffee. I walked around the house as the kettle went to work for that coffee I needed desperate to read Godwin’s article.
I had decided that this year I would invest in matching my lingerie. I mean there are reasons for and against that but I thought why not? But, aside from a wardrobe upgrade I have been speaking out more about writing and the need for content that speaks to an audience, not in a way that they hear, but a way that they internalize the message.
I read somewhere that:
Journalism is literature in a hurry
I remember going through Godwin’s article thinking of how many people did take up Literature at the University and why they went for it. See, I think I would have taken it up but I have always had that Psychology cloud hanging above my head with a lightning bolt ready to strike lest I deviate from my course.
In his article Godwin writes:
It is deeply ironical that the influence of literary and cultural intellectualism has been so roundly trumped by the irrational ideas, whether they are rich quick allure and materialism, or the sectarianism of tribe and religion, in times of information explosion.
He goes on to ask a question that has given me no peace since that Saturday evening :
Is our idea of literature consistent with the current challenges that society faces?
In my previous post Like a time stamp in the heart, I shared three questions that I believe every writer ought to ask themselves and figure out an answer. I went ahead and stated why I write and why I hold dear the ability to put words together in an attempt to create. So, why did his article bother me so much? Why did his view on literature especially in the higher education institutions send me chasing after my own tail?
I don’t know. And no, it’s not denial, it’s the state of uncertainty for the feeling is there but for now what precise reason, I don’t know.
Since then I have read a few good books and bought even more.
There’s more to this but if one thing is true it’s that Literature will never die. It may be under siege as Godwin writes, but that is his view and we are seven billion people and the pen knows those are quite a lot of views.
Shall I consider myself a Literary Intellectual and say that I’m speaking about it, and writing about it? I don’t know…