Why Write?

This oft asked question is reliably put to any established or aspiring author: why write? To which I answer:

Why not?

Now that I’ve answered that question with a pithy remark, here’s a better answer: Writing, to me, is the manner in which I reconcile the world around me. Shit happens and I find it deeply absorbing to find a place for it in a story. Why a story? Because stories are wrapped around characters and the best evoke human sympathies, connections, and revulsions. It is far more interesting to learn of an age through a well-written story.

And this is our age.

I find that writing allows me to explore themes and ideas, whether about love and corruption, loss and redemption, or of the pervasive nature of individualism over community; personal avarice over common good. Weaving these themes into stories with flawed characters is a great way to pass the time.

That’s not to say it’s easy. It’s often a great deal of work, of re-writing, of editing, and occasionally it’s sleepless nights when you’re sure you just wasted many hours on what is essentially crap. That’s where alcohol comes in, but we’ll set that aside for now.

The other reason I write is to leave a tangible piece of me behind after I shuffle off to wherever we shuffle off to when our days on the big blue marble are over. Nothing stands in better stead than what we write.

There’s also the not so insignificant opportunity to do, at least mentally, all the interesting and terrible things we dare not do in real life. Or to imagine ourselves as someone or something we know we would or could not be, again, in, as Nigel Tufnel would say, our dreary little lives.

We can work out our problems with those we know in ways that actually end in resolution rather than stalemate or detente as real life often does. There’s the added bonus of whether we’ll be caught in the act.

“This is about me, isn’t it?” will be asked a time or two by those reading our nifty little stories. And whether we own up or coyly deflect, gives us another reason to continue on in our dreary little lives. Note that the resolution need not be affirming for all parties.

And lastly, there is the thrill of finding out whether you can pull it off, if you can indeed write something others will profess to love, or at least not grimace over. Sure, you can fall on your ass, and that can hurt, but if you don’t try, what’s the point?

Exactly.

©2019 David William Pearce

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