By ilise feitshans • November 14, 2016•Writers in Residence
Law, especially in the USA, has a rich and vibrant history of written debate about vital legal issues in our society.
Written words are a key part of legal tradition as a source of empowerment. According to Rachel Carson, the environmentalist in Geneva Switzerland, who is credited with inspiring society to create environmental law, writing is a lonely task. A task that requires so much isolation it doesn't even matter what one is wearing! As Louisa May Alcott opined about her character Jo who was a published author in the 19th century novel Good Wives, the young lady wore a black dress all the time so that when she wrote no one would notice if she spilled ink on her clothes! And First Lady and Mom of Presidents Mrs Abigail Adams, undaunted by the absence of formal legal education (which was forbidden to women in her lifetime), wrote that “in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire that you would remember the ladies...”. These immortal words were produced in isolation from her husband, in the quiet countryside far from noisy crowded cities where confusion inevitably surrounded the Continental Congress at the dawn of our Revolutionary War.
Blogs are an odd progeny of this written heritage. Today blogs can capture an event or quote while it happens. Technology spreads words fast-- with lightning speed. Blogs have the special feature of flexibility inherent in swift electronic replies. But, the best writing endures beyond a few minutes. Fine writing is a gift to humanity across time. Writing requires discipline and clear thinking derived from solitude. Preparing clear text that moves a reader is hard work, requiring forethought. Once the forethought has been applied, the puzzle solved, the questions answered, the resulting text shines with brilliance that will help other people. The key tool for such clear disciplined writing is glue. Glue? Yes glue. One puts glue on the chair and sits on the chair until the writing is finished. But few students or professional lawyers have a reason to glue themselves to a writing project for pleasure, with the hope of then having feedback from an appreciative audience on the web or elsewhere.
Blogging offers the best opportunity to hone these skills: an admixture of quick thinking and hard-chaired discipline. Blogs written in solitude can enjoy feedback by taking the bold next step after solitude, allowing the written word to be examined and judged by colleagues, friends and the public with possibly instant reply. Blogs are the perfect conduit for removing thoughtful clear text from isolation into the world outside one's school or mind. Having a blog opportunity is therefore a great gift for pre-law individuals, law students, and lawyers who wish to refine their writing for their clients and the world. And a special treat for people who care about bringing their well honed writing skills to new subjects by offering a swift reply for ideas not previously explored!