“We go where we’re needed, fighting not for country, not for government, but for ourselves. We need no reason to fight. We fight because we are needed.”
The quote from Big Boss in Peace Walker echoed in my head as I thought about the task at hand. From now on, we’re to write for ourselves. In a way, it’s easier than any English assignment. It is also much harder. Garneau’s own Mr. Rakonjac says that it is simpler to write a song with some constraints – the number of bars chosen, the progression of chords decided, the structure of creation controlled. Yet great music obviously transcends these limits. No music would be good music if these restrictions were followed, and the same is true with any kind of art.
That leads us to writing. Writing not for readers, not for English class, but for ourselves. We aren’t mercenaries. We’re not revolutionaries, criminals, terrorists, if the times demand it. We have nations, philosophies, ideologies. That does not mean we should spend our time frantically recording what one teacher says should be changed in the writing of others. That does not mean we should rewrite a piece simply because someone tells us they feel it could go in another direction. There’s nothing wrong with getting tips on how to make an assignment better, but when it becomes an obsession to earn that extra one percent by appealing to a teacher’s innermost desires… then you’re not Big Boss. You’re not Solid Snake. You’re not even Zero. At least he believed in something.
I hope that a certain amount of people understand what I’m trying to say. Of all the video games I play, I managed to choose the most obscure to reference. I hope that the use of techniques I learned in English class doesn’t discredit the point I’m making. The flow of syntax patterning is nice and it’s not like I’ll learn techniques anywhere else. I hope that, most importantly, we all can stop hoping about who our art will please. Art is about expression, not impression. Our new goal, as writers, is to write for ourselves. We’re not a newspaper; I have no clue what we are. We’re a student-run website representing Marc Garneau through writing, and there’s no clearer way to say that. Here, we are read by our peers, not our teachers, and marks are to be left at the door.
“But what better place for us than this? It is our only home. Our heaven and our hell.”
This is the Reckoner.