Expression is Not Free
It is said that writer’s block is the inability to write because of a loss in creative thought about a given subject. It is entirely possible that this term can be attributed to other aspects of writing and life in general; it is this area I will explore.
Virginia Woolf explains the angel in her house as the pure spirit that would come between her and her paper when writing reviews about men. ‘ You are writing about a book that has been written by a man. Be sympathetic, be tender, flatter, deceive, use all these arts of our sex.’; She was able to slay this angel because of a trust fund left to her by family, which paid her a handsome living. These payments liberated her from the need to use charm and the arts of her sex to provide sustenance and lifestyle maintenance. This mentality was widely held during her career. As society changed, it paved the way for other female writers to be less encumbered by gender, and appreciated for their works. I wonder how the writings of Joan Didion would have been accepted fifty years earlier during the start of Woolf’s career. Would she posses the same confidence in her work?
Orwell writes ‘What I have most wonted to do throughout the last ten years is to make political writing in to an art. One can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality.’; Society dictates what is and is not readable, what is and is not acceptable, what is expected and what are success and or failure. We are all shaped and trapped by the popular opinions of our time. We are not free to indulge in art, literature, or even our daily lives with out the watchful eye of society’s scrutiny. It is necessary to test these opinions in order for society to grow up and accept change.From a small child we are sculpted by our experiences. Our opinions are formed by exposure and hard lessons learned. We are dependant upon others and this dependence is paid for with sacrifice in order to for fill the expectations of our benefactors. Many will never be liberated by wealth, fame, or status, and thus even in adulthood we are required to meet standards and expectations or follow the beat of society’s drum. Yet others are shackled and restricted by wealth, requiring that they have social responsibilities and requirements of class structure to be met.