Must writing always have a social cause? Or can one still rely on the life of a letters as a life of simple, individual expression? Is writing about war, violence, and societal issues nobler than an examination of private sorrows and domestic affairs? Or have we simply attributed masculinity to the novels of action, violence, battles, and wars; and unjustly reduced individual expression on the sublimity of the commonplace as feminine, and thus wrongly assumed it is less noble? Can writing still be pure expression, and its ability to alter thought and call for action merely an incidental quality? Or does the modern man carry a new-found, if not self-generated, responsibility of writing with a motive of causing change in his community?
I ask these questions because I read about the hostility towards writing about oneself as opposed to reportage. I ask these questions because I hear about the discontent towards the first-person view. In a social media age where we are encouraged to publicize our private lives, writing as an intimate form of revelation is increasingly scrutinized for not tackling pressing, and relevant societal issues. Must writing really carry such a burden? Can it not be that the revelations of our interiors lives can be as transformative as a political commentary? Can it not be that the streams of our consciousness resonate as much as a stirring, stinging essay on society’s ills? Can it not be that the finest, minutest lines of our daily transactions ultimately reflect the bigger changes in the world we move in, we write in, and speak in?