Geroge Orwell


Wiry Limbs, Paper Backs by Terry Border

Artist Terry Border gives new life to old books in his latest series titled Wiry Limbs, Paper Backs. The artist utilizes his handcrafted technique of bending wires to serve as limbs and combines it with a great sense of humor. Each whimsical creation in the ongoing project is a sculptural work that stands on its own, reflecting its respective text.


What mattered were individual relationships, and a completely helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a dying man, could have value in itself…They were not loyal to a party or country or an idea, they were loyal to one another.
—  George Orwell, 1984
Happiness in Writing

In George Orwell’s article titled “Why I Write”, he talks a bit about the four different degrees every writer writes. The four different degrees are dependent on the writer and the environment the writer is in, along with the writer’s will at that particular moment in time. The different degrees are as follows:

“(i) Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen — in short, with the whole top crust of humanity. The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all — and live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery. But there is also the minority of gifted, willful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money.

(ii) Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed. The aesthetic motive is very feeble in a lot of writers, but even a pamphleteer or writer of textbooks will have pet words and phrases which appeal to him for non-utilitarian reasons; or he may feel strongly about typography, width of margins, etc. Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.

(iii) Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.

(iv) Political purpose. — Using the word ‘political’ in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.”

Now, Orwell states beforehand that a writer is influenced by all of these different aspects of writing, however I disagree with this. Personally, I write little drabbles for myself because I like to tell stories. I don’t write my stories to get back at people from my past, I don’t write them because I’m exploring the beauty of the world (most of the things I write get pretty dark anyways), nothing is very historical, and it’s nowhere near to being political. I write because it makes me happy to out the little events in my head onto paper, give them context, give them life. Maybe my writing is different than what he considers writing, but it’s still writing right? Words on a page that make a story (true or otherwise)?

And what about writing for happiness? Another article we’ve read by Julia Anna’s talks about the different levels of happiness. When I write, I get down into the first level of happiness (i.e. just writing because it feels good to me. I derive pleasure from it, therefore I do it). And she also talks about how true happiness is something that is achieved, one must work towards their goals to become happy in life. In a way, the act of writing for whatever purpose is like writing to a goal: the goal of finishing and getting your words out into the world. I totally agree with the underlying idea that Orwell writes to get his words out, even though I disagree with the basis of what those words usually fall into (category wise). I think that Annas would argue that by achieving that goal, by finishing a piece or by publishing a work, you are truly reaching that deeper level of happiness.

Although Orwell doesn’t count it as one of the four reasons a writer writes, I do believe many write because they enjoy it. I would continue on and argue that that is why people enter into positions like the ones he mentioned before. They enjoy that work. I don’t think people actually write to get back at past people or to be talked about or remembered after death. Maybe they do, but that just seems so shallow. “I’m going to write this novel and it will be the best thing ever and I’m going to be remembered!” No! That’s not how things work! Most of the time, it’s those few items you rote absentmindedly that take off! If you go searching for it, fame will avoid you like the plague. Which is why achieving it is so awesome! It makes everything all the more worth it. And that’s where I think happiness comes from when writing. Where the purpose might be to get your words out there, the happiness comes when people actually look at your work and start to believe in it, believe in you.

Some people would answer that they don’t like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.
—  George Orwell