Writers ‘an inherently awkward group,’ says Rosenblatt

November 22, 2005

November 22, 2005 — Roger Rosenblatt, the Shorenstein Center’s Edward R. Murrow Visiting Professor of the Practice of Press and Public Policy, discussed what entices people to write in a brown-bag lunch lunch titled “Why Write?”

A satirist by trade, Rosenblatt began his talk by positing that writers — “an inherently awkward group” — are drawn to their profession out of a desire to watch the world rather than engage in it. Rosenblatt discussed several other reasons why human beings are compelled to write: to break silence, to express freedom, and to civilize humanity.

By writing, Rosenblatt asserted, we declare that we will live according to our own will and not that of another. Although we often lack reason, he said, humans are a narrative species, and our evolution is marked by a constant endeavor to get our story right.