Why do we write? This is an age old question that ultimately has no clear or definite answer. The short answer is that it is entirely subjective to each writer as each writer has their own story to tell and message to convey, as well as their own reasons for doing so. Ultimately I think we write about what we find important. We write about what matters to us, and in doing so we hope to invoke a similar understanding in the reader. We long to make them understand.
So why do I write? I write to put into words that which cannot be said. Writing is a language in itself – full of complexities, intricacies, and emotions that cannot be captured by the spoken word as accurately. The way we speak and the way we write are altogether different, and invoke different emotions. Writing enables us to use language that goes beyond the norm of everyday speech, to use language that is graceful, powerful, and elegant. Language that if voiced aloud, might seem bizarre. Beyond that, writing is also a mechanism of introspection as it challenges us to look deeper, think harder, and ponder longer that which we wish to say, and where it is coming from.
So why write law? I am not a judge or legal practitioner. I am but a student, learning from a textbook. So why regurgitate what so many textbooks have already said? The short answer: I don’t plan to. Having read the blog Constitutionally Speaking by Pierre de Vos, I understand that the law is not simply about rules and interpretation. It is not simply a set of books telling us what to do. It affects all of us on a grand scale. Textbooks tell us about the law on paper, not the law in operation. They tell us we have rights, but not how these rights apply on the street. A textbook describes an ideal, not a fact, and certainly not a reality in many cases. Because at the end of the day, sometimes our rights end on paper.
That brings us to the law of narratives. I am writing to tell the stories and the narratives that a textbook does not capture. The personal stories of how the law applies, and whether our rights are merely ideals or meaningful on the street. I am writing to show how law and order are not always the same as fairness and justice.
I am writing in light of my own personal experiences, in the hope of hearing other people’s stories. I am writing to find meaning in a world that professes to crave egalitarian order, yet cultivates chaos. Although that may sound like a depressing world-view, I do not see it that way. Chaos and order require a balance, a balance in which we must both find meaning and create it because at the end of the day, isn’t that part of why we write? Isn’t that part of why we live? To find meaning.