I was asked recently to think about why I write. And I wondered, why do we write? What drives us to put a pen to the page, to rest our fingertips on that keyboard and bleed our heart and soul into blank space? The result came in a form that I had not expected.
Here’s my stab at it. Warning: I am no poet!
Allow me to exposit.
Why we write.
We write not to keep the lights on but to keep THE light on. You under covers, shaking and quaking, nail biting, heart breaking.
We write to be the hero; it fits our mood. The theme is life and we are like Frodo whining with the ring at our necks and a mountain to reach. We climb. For ten years we’ll climb. Each stroke of a key a wound that comes from within, a key to open us up and spill our guts. Writing is blood. And when it’s out, it’s crap.
The first draft is always crap. But that’s okay because life is revision. 10,000 hours—someone tell those kids. It’s about creation.
A book is just another allegory for life. Life’s a genre you pick up and try on and move on—I hope you have a dash of romance. A book should entrance.
But we write for more.
Every speech was written before it was said. It keeps the foot from the mouth. Words ARE power. They give hope. They change.
Stories are life’s verisimilitude.
We know what it’s like to survive at altitude, way up here in the highfalutin air. A kid on the Mississippi. A mouse in our pockets. We get The Help, even though we never lived it. We write to understand.
Ourselves. Where love comes from, and hate, so we don’t repeat.
Writing is hard. We will fall so many times. Readers are fickle but we are not, a basketball to be dropped and shot, trolled and popped, with 1 star reviews for saying our thing. For being what we’ll be.
Writing’s a cliff.
It’s a hole in the hedgerow. A wardrobe. From which we try on the lives of sixteen year old girls, quadriplegics, bug eating boys, and future worlds that unfurl.
The world needs us.
We are culture. Because Iron Man 27 is not an option but they’ll make it if they have to. Don’t write if you love clickbait—Because you’ll never believe what happens next … But you do. And it never lives up to a book. So we pick up our pens. And write. We don’t care if our prose is too purple, didactic, or caustic. If it’s organic it’s new.
It’s the bestest.
Writing is empathy.
Books are bibles; they are stories and truths. Writing is religion. We can find meaning, self, our light and our dark, and our 50 shades of gray between.
We are personified.
That’s why we write.
I think every generation deserves its own heroes. Heroes that speak to it alone. I’d like to think we’re playing a small roll in that creation.
And this is why I read too. To try on different lives. To continue the adventure. To read is to get that much closer to the meaning of life. Deep right? I think the meaning of life is something you have to create for yourself. And the only way to bring you closer to it is to seek knowledge. And that involves listening, and since you can’t speak to everyone everywhere every when, it means reading.
Why do you write?