Monday, October 22, 2012

Writing: It's a Virus

It's no Ebola or Lassa Fever, but writing is just as infectious.

Alrightly, you caught me.

Bacteriophages, a type of virus, taking over a cell.
I am in the midst of an immunology-crazed phase of my life. This is partly due to the fact that I recently watched the move Outbreak, which depicts/dramatizes the journey of Ebola, a very deadly virus, as it travels to America. After watching the movie and spending some time in my research lab, I began thinking about how writing is much like a virus.

I know. It’s an odd comparison, but just stay with me here.

 Viruses are simple and very small. They are only comprised of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and a protein coat for protection. Even better, they are one-hundredth of the size of an average bacterium. That’s really tiny! Yet these simpletons mesmerize us with their ability to wipe out their hosts quickly and efficiently. They are able to fully commandeer a healthy cell and destroy them singlehandedly in a very short amount of time.

I’m not saying writing is going to destroy you (event though it sometimes feels like it), but the act of writing is simple as well; you can string some letters together and get a word. Then put some words in the correct order and you have a sentence. It’s very humble. Yet we are so intrigued by what this process has given us: the ability to entertain, perplex, frighten and explain every possible topic and audience in existence. We even use writing to creatively sculpt new worlds from our imaginations. An act as simple as touching a pen to paper has gotten us so far during in life.

The point I’m trying to make here is that writing infects us. It takes over our minds. When we are “in the zone” while writing, it is all we can think about. The need to get our ideas on paper overwhelms us. Even while reading a good book, our minds are inundated with images, feeling and thoughts. All of these reactions can come from a single sentence or a mere word. Writing does this to you. It is infectious. It is a virus.

I, for one, am very happy there is no antiserum to this pandemic.


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