HISTORY & WRITING
History is Written
JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group
December 8, 2022
“History is written by the victors.” Winston Churchill
I’m not sure the quote above is as true today as it was when Winston spoke it. With today’s self-publishing, globalized availability, social media feeds, and innumerable news sources, it seems as if there are more voices being heard than ever before. Though at times, this muddies the waters, I think we’re living in a special time in which a multitude of narratives are available. The voices of the oppressed can be heard. The cries of the underdogs can be understood. And the fiscally impaired are no longer required to silently sit back. For the first time in history, we’re all being given a chance to write history if we chose.
There will never be another time like the one we are currently living in. That has been true throughout humanity’s existence. And that will remain true as long as we’re alive. So why not write about it? Why not tell our stories? Why not log it so others can read what we’re experiencing?
A few years ago, I read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. That book was written in 1818 – 204 years ago. And reading it didn’t feel like I was reading a relic from the past. Once I was able to process the different use of language, it was easy to read, and I was completely engaged. Perhaps one day, in 2226, someone will read something I’ve written. And perhaps they might learn that we’re far more similar than we are different.
In Bill Hayes book, Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me, he quotes Oliver Sacks saying “The most we can do is to write — intelligently, creatively, critically, evocatively — about what it is like living in the world at this time.”
And I must agree. The most we can do is write. Write about today. Write what it’s like living the human experience. We never know who may read it down the line and benefit from our thoughts and ideas. We will never live as long as our words. And in a world were all our voices have the opportunity to be heard, let’s use them.