Considering Absurdism

The 7th of November is the anniversary of absurdist writer/philosopher Albert Camus' birth in 1913. Writing as yourself or through a character, discuss whether life has meaning and reason—or it's as meaningless and nonsensical (i.e., absurd) as Camus believed. Given your position, consider what, if anything, people can do to find happiness in life.
Author:
Publish date:
Image placeholder title

Albert Camus and Sysiphus | images via Wikimedia Commons

The 7th of November is the anniversary of Albert Camus' birth in 1913. A writer and philosopher, Camus was known for his belief in absurdism—the notion that humans perpetually and futilely strive to find meaning and sense in an existence that is meaningless and nonsensical.

In his essay The Myth of Sysiphus, Camus compares the absurd human condition to the Greek myth in which Sisyphus defies the gods and puts Death in chains in order to prevent all humans from dying. When Death is freed, the gods punish Sisyphus by making him push a rock up a mountain for eternity; whenever he reaches the top, the rock rolls back down. According to Camus, Sysiphus is an absurd hero because he lives his life to the fullest by helping humanity cheat death, but is ultimately condemned to do a meaningless task forever.

But the essay's conclusion is not so dismal as you might expect: Camus argues that once Sysiphus acknowledges the futility of pushing the rock up the mountain and accepts it as his fate, he can reach a state of acceptance and contentment—achieving happiness, in a sense. Camus concludes: "The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

The Prompt: Writing as yourself or through a character, discuss whether life has meaning and reason—or whether it's as meaningless and nonsensical (i.e., absurd) as Albert Camus believed. Given your position, consider what people can do to find happiness in life.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

The "Show" Don't "Tell" Collection

Image placeholder title

6 resources to help you improve your writing

“Show, don’t tell,” might be the single most common piece of advice authors of fiction both give and receive. But what does this actually mean, and how can you apply the concept to your writing? The differences are usually not so easily spelled out. This kit is designed to break down the aspects of "showing" vs. "telling" so that you can create a convincing and believable world for your readers to explore. This collection contains three ebooks and 3 downloadable writing resources that will put your story on the path to success. Get it here.

Do You Find an Editor or Agent First?

Do You Find an Editor or Agent First?

It's a common question asked by writers looking to get their first book published: Do you find an editor or agent first? The answer depends on each writer's situation.

writer's digest wd presents

WDU Presents: 7 New WDU Courses, a Chance at Publication, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce seven new WDU courses, a chance at publication, and more!

What Is a Professional Editor and Why Should Writers Use One?

What Is a Professional Editor and Why Should Writers Use One?

Editor is a very broad term in the publishing industry that can mean a variety of things. Tiffany Yates Martin reveals what a professional editor is and why writers should consider using one.

From Script

How to Find the Right Reader for Feedback, Writing Female Characters and Tapping into Emotionally Authentic Characters (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script Magazine, read film reviews from Tom Stemple, part three of writing female characters, interviews with Free Guy scribes Zak Penn and Matt Lieberman, The Eyes of Tammy Faye screenwriter Abe Sylvia, and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is chasing trends in writing and publishing.

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Author Dawn Secord shares her journey toward self-publishing a picture book featuring her Irish Setter named Bling.

Poetic Forms

Crown of Sonnets: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the crown of sonnets, a form that brings together seven sonnets in a special way.

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (and as a Person)

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (And as a Person)

Reflective writing—or journaling—is a helpful practice in helping understand ourselves, and by extensions, the stories we intend to write. Author Jeanne Baker Guy offers 25 ways reflective writing can help you grow as a writer (and as a person).

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let your character know they're being followed.