Notes from An Alien

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Our Conversation About “Serious Writing” Continues…

Serious Writing This particular conversation about “serious writing” began last Wednesday —> Blog Conversation ~ “Serious Writing”

And, by way of prologuing the repetition of part of what that post said, here’s the comment that kept this conversation going:

“I was trying to choose a poem to read at a charity gig we are putting on next week ‘Music and Words’ and found I didn’t want to read anything serious. I wanted to make people laugh. However, I do write political stuff sometimes, trying to influence how people think and behave. There’s a time and place for everything.”

To reinforce what that commentor said, here’s a quote from Bahá’u’lláh:

 “Not everything that a man knoweth can be disclosed, nor can everything that he can disclose be regarded as timely, nor can every timely utterance be considered as suited to the capacity of those who hear it.”

And, because this is a blog that explores language quite a bit, I should mention that Bahá’u’lláh wrote in Persian and Arabic; and, translations into English (partly out of classical experience) use “he” and “man”, when the actual text has non-sexed words—the closest English can come to that is the word “they”; but, some folks resist it; and, using it can make the original meanings hard to convey

Short Form:

Bahá’u’lláh was also talking about women :-)


We can’t always disclose what we know in writing; we can’t always consider what we want to write as timely; and, everything we write is probably not suitable for all readers…

And, while this advice can refer to “serious” writing, it could as well refer to writing that’s only meant to entertain…

As the author who kept this conversation going said: “There’s a time and place for everything.”

Still, I feel there are aspects of a conversation about “serious writing” that we haven’t yet discussed…

With a nod toward that potentiality, here (one more time) is the word history of “serious”:

mid-15c., “expressing earnest purpose or thought” (of persons), from Middle French sérieux “grave, earnest” (14c.), from Late Latin seriosus, from Latin serius “weighty, important, grave,” probably from a PIE root *sehro- “slow, heavy” (source also of Lithuanian sveriu, sverti “to weigh, lift,” svarus“heavy, weighty;” Old English swær “heavy,” German schwer “heavy,” Gothic swers “honored, esteemed,” literally “weighty”). As opposite of jesting, from 1712; as opposite of light (of music, theater, etc.), from 1762. Meaning “attended with danger” is from 1800.


“Serious” can mean “heavy” but also “weighty”; “earnest” or “grave”; and, even somewhat “dangerous”

What’s your conception of “serious writing”?

When, especially, do you think it’s “necessary”?

When should it be “avoided”?

And, if you dare go there, when is “serious” writing “meditative”, “ruminative”, “contemplative”, or “introspective”?

Finally, if all those quotation marks haven’t scared you away, what are Your thoughts and feelings about “serious” writing?

It only takes one comment to keep this conversation going :-)
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4 responses to “Our Conversation About “Serious Writing” Continues…

  1. juliecroundblog May 8, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Just to keep things going – can fiction ever be called ‘serious writing?’ A story doesn’t have to be amusing to involve the reader but my fear is that if it is truly serious it becomes too self absorbed and the reader is disenchanted. However, dissertations and articles ( and in my case, items for recording) can be serious and can inform as well as influence the audience’s thinking. I include historical articles, medical articles and philosophical articles. These are by nature what I would call serious. As for personal writing, such as biographies, they can be serious or entertaining and the latest fashion for victim writing is just one example.


  2. Alexander M Zoltai May 8, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Thanks for keeping the spirit of continuing the conversation, Julie :-)

    Could you help me understand this bit: “…the latest fashion for victim writing…”?


  3. Pingback: Yet More Conversation About “Serious Writing” . . . | Notes from An Alien

  4. Pingback: Blog Conversation About “Genre” Writing . . . | Notes from An Alien

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