God reaches out to Adam in Michaelangelo’s masterpiece. An added kindle demonstrates that the written word is the conduit of power.

As a medium, writing differs from other modes of art. With pictures, we take in the impression with our eyes. As in the picture above, the scene is often set, the concept (or at least the elements of it) clear. With music, we take in the impression with our ears. With food, it’s the smell and taste. Most ‘art’ created by people push the impression through our senses and into our brain. What our brain then does with them, of course, is much more complicated. But the principal is that we absorb a ‘packaged’ piece of art through our senses.

I think that the ‘art’ of writing is through a medium that is very different. Yes, the words come in through our eyes (and sometimes ears or via braille) but they are far less constrained: we can say anything; the canvas is of unlimited size and the orchestra may contain a million violins.

Furthermore, we can look at a painting, we can listen to music, but we must read a book, and reading requires an additional layer of interpretation: we have to construct the author’s work inside our heads. We have to make meaning of the stories. We must relate to it. We build models of the characters and places involved.

And when we do that, we can believe in worlds that should not be able to exist, in people who were created in one mind and then transported to another’s.

In addition to this, belief in an almighty power requires us to refer to the written words of said religion. We talk of the word of God. Which fits when you consider that the bible is the best-selling book of all time!

The point is that words are almost unlimited in their power. We can defeat all physical laws with just a quick “We’re travelling three times the speed of light now, Captain,” We can manipulate chance, control the very actions of individuals. We can make worlds. We can destroy them. We can resurrect the dead.

That is power. Unlimited power.

But such power can only be properly experienced where there is a reader. We may all be potential storytellers, but a world full of Creators needs a world crammed with Adams. Simply put, people should read more books.

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