[Written by Valeria Levi]
I have never written articles. Well, that’s not completely true – I’ve written some samples in school on a writing course but I would not consider them real articles. When you write for real, your work addresses people who are genuinely intrigued by what you may say, not teachers who have to deal with your writing regardless their sincere interest. The impact is very different – where teachers tend to criticise or encourage you in order to help you make some improvements, readers don’t care about your work-in-progress style and its derived imperfections. You must be good from the beginning because readers are looking for feeling a sort of appeal to your writing, a sensuous appeal to how you can put words together. Along with that, they are seeking for a new angle on things, something that will lead them to a different perspective from their general point of view.
Fear of the expectations of people reading a piece of writing, and anxiety over not being worthy have always prevented me from exposing myself to writing in a magazine. Now things have not gone better but I’ve decided to take up this challenge to see what happens. So far, I have had just more doubts. Hilarious, isn’t it? I hoped that writing could have thoughts become fluent whereas it’s still a struggle…
“What am I going to write, and how am I going to make it” are only the most infuriating questions that come together in my mind. Then, I’m also wondering how I’m supposed to answer problems such as: is there a way to express oneself best? Or, does a recipe for linking people’s feelings with the writer’s ideas exist?
I couldn’t find an answer but, ultimately, is it really important that I find one? It’s probably enough to approach this kind of enquiry and never give up on looking for a sort of understanding. At least, that’s a first step towards some artistic questions which have concerned (and still do) the literary debate, and attempting to address them to myself makes me feel a little closer to the perception of such issues. As Plato taught us in his Dialogues, the lack of answers and the desire of filling this gap will not lead to an enlightening solution but will make us move towards self-research and a broader awareness of a problem.
In the lines I wrote above, I often talked about myself – it only follows that I should ask: am I writing for myself rather than for other people? I don’t know, it’s difficult to say. For sure it starts as a challenge against the “inner demons” which fill me up with doubts every time I take a pen in my hand or I type on the computer; demons which create a mess in my head – one which is difficult to get out of. For this reason, I totally agree with the Italian writer Beppe Fenoglio when he said, with good reason, that he didn’t write for entertainment: writing exhausted him so much so that the easiest written page came from tens of excruciating corrections.
Of course, my writing is not comparable to Fenoglio’s skills, but what arises from his words – which are particularly meaningful for my discourse – is the necessity of finding a way to transform the confusion in my head into a clear message that could be reached by other people. At this point, what other people will do with my writing and how they will perceive it is not up to me any more. I cannot predict readers’ reactions and the effects of my words, for writing sometimes acts independently from the author as a bridge setting itself up to connect two different worlds, the readers’ and the writer’s.
I realized that I wanted to push myself through this new experience because the idea of writing for a magazine occupied my mind more and more but I hadn’t thought that my first article would have led me to talk about what writing means to me. That’s pretty ironic, though: writing about writing, but, is irony not what saves writers from their tireless perplexities?