Yes, technically November is NaNoWriMo, which continues to look like a bad idea when one is working full time and taking two grad school classes. However, for those of us with the spirit but also the time crunch, today is the first ever National Day on Writing, hosted by NCTE (Nat’l Council for Teachers of English), and signed into officialdom by a Senate resolution.
The website, hosted by NCTE, invites you to submit your writing to a National Gallery of Writing, and also participate in the day-long webcast led by various authors, etc. They’re also running all kinds of commentary, re-tweets, etc. on writing through Twitter, under #ndw. I think this is all very cool–I just wish I had known about it sooner! The first I heard of it was this morning, when I got my daily BU email, talking about all the cool writing-related activities going on at the student union. So I went and did a little digging.
Curiously, the mission statement on the NDW homepage reads:
Established by NCTE, the National Gallery and the National Day
- highlight the remarkable variety of writing we engage in today;
- provide a collection for research on whether writing today has risen to new highs or sunk to new lows; and
- help us help others to write better.
I find this an odd assortment of goals. Encourage people to enjoy writing? Showcase the many uses and forms and beauties of the written word? Spread the word about ways to improve your writing? Generally support the practitioners of what has often been deemed a ‘solitary craft?’ Great! All good stuff.
But…provide a collection for research on whether writing today has risen to new highs or sunk to new lows? This makes my critical-thinker’s brain sit up and say ‘really?’ Compared to what and when? Are we looking at word-length, acceptable use of grammar, flights of metaphor and allusion, variety of vocabulary and reasonable spelling? Logic, support, and originality? Are we seriously looking at the efforts of a bunch of random people on the internet as compared to the letters of John and Abigail Adams? As I didn’t see anything else related to that particular goal on the site, I’m just going to hope that the NCTE knows what it’s doing. Certainly the proliferation of LOLspeak iz srsly scary, if also occasionally amusing.
And so, despite my intellectual question marks of the above paragraph, I am thrilled to see a day in celebration of writing. Therefore, I say: Go forth! Put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard or marker to whiteboard or pencil to post it note or stylus to clay tablet! (No, seriously, why not?) Twitter a haiku, send a letter to an old friend, drop some Shakespeare into your next staff bulletin. Revel in the ridiculous rules of language, break a few, read a book, share some really really bad puns. It’s the write thing to do. 😉