Writing is Thinking

Ted Chiang’s The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling tells the story of Jijingi, a young member of the Tiv tribe and their first encounter with European missionary, Moseby. Jijingi, curious of the thick collection of parchment that Moseby calls a book, asks Moseby to teach him how to read and write.

Jijingi eventually comes to an epiphany that I experienced last year, that writing is thinking.

As he practiced his writing, Jijingi came to understand what Moseby had meant: writing was not just a way to record what someone said; it could help you decide what you would say before you said it. And words were not just the pieces of speaking; they were the pieces of thinking. When you wrote them down, you could grasp your thoughts like bricks in your hands and push them into different arrangements.
October 8, 2021

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