The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

QOTD – How Do You Use Your Words?

Why do we write?

It is reasonably well believed that cave paintings were used to inventory types of wildlife, hunting patterns, or weather in a given area.

Cuneiform is believed to have come into existence so the Sumerians could track their commerce. How much wheat does three goats buy this year?

Hieroglyphics were mainly used for religious purposes, such as recording how the soul must be prepared to strive in the afterlife.

During the time of Ramses II the Egyptians believed that writing your name on a wall was a path to immortality as your spirit could literally live on in your name.

The word prehistoric literally means before written records—implying that history is a collection of written records.

The ability to write, the purpose of writing has always played an integral role in human society, whether that purpose is to record how many clay pots we have this year or how to lose a guy in ten days.

In the 21st century, why do we write? Of what value are our words?

We have much more advanced techniques of inventory and recording history than slapping a scribble of a buffalo on a wall; people believe they will achieve bliss in the afterlife through reading, not writing (if at all); our strive toward immortality is sought through science in terms of medication or the singularity; and yet we write.

We write more now than ever.

Maybe not beautifully, maybe not even well- but oh boy do we write.

If you disagree with me, update your Facebook status or tweet about what an idiot I am then get back to your work emails…

But why do we write?

Is it simply for the quick transfer of information?

Where U @?

Or is it a modern form of hieroglyphics?


  • (if you can’t read that, it says Writing is Good I Love it A Lot!! #emojiSWAG)

Or is it something else completely?


I write because I must. In many ways, every day, I write. Until The Poetry Question came to be and I was invited on board, unfortunately, I used a majority of my words in a strictly business sense, emails negating the need for face to face—convenient, impersonal, direct. The most fun I would have was the Director’s Note on each of my playbills (relevant detail: I am a high school theatre director by day… and often night).

Sure, from time to time I would do something creative with my words. I spent about a year in a band, sometimes writing lyrics (though as the bassists I was rarely in charge of the lyrics… guess I’m no Sting or McCartney). I wrote a few masterful Facebook statuses and some of my tweets should have gone viral they were so #brilliant.

To sate my need for wordplay I often dominated people in WWF (sadly, not the wrestling organization… Words With Friends) or sent ironically moronic text messages: “I left you are keys on the table.”

Since I began working here, my words have found new life. The page has become the pensieve of my mind (read Harry Potter, people).

I have again come to appreciate and love what we often take for granted: The ability to write.

QOTD – How do you find yourself using your ability to write in today’s tech-heavy, social media driven society?

About Jamaal

Lover of words, liver of life, director of theatre, keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts. Twitter: @JamaalAllan

3 comments on “QOTD – How Do You Use Your Words?

  1. kiwiskan
    June 5, 2013

    I think we are always driven by a desire for some sort of immortality. I am writing more and more as I get older. I love marks on paper. Tech heavy doesn’t really hack it for me (although as you can see, I use it :))

  2. Well, I’m glad you write now 🙂

    • J. Gabriel Allan
      June 6, 2013

      Thank you! I’m glad you’re enjoying our work…

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This entry was posted on June 5, 2013 by in Question of the Day and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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