Far too often, I find that there are different people at different times, and definitely when reading different themes and topics, who simply do not understand what I am trying to say and/or accomplish through writing any one particular piece. In my mind, the words, even before editing, are crystal clear, and the message that lies within more often than not comforts me, and improves my perception of the world around me. To write is therapeutic for me, and this is the case for countless other writers. I can say that of any pieces which have been published, it is perhaps a natural and necessary occurrence that some of my favorites, and the pieces which do me the most good, are those left un-published. The words on paper, when they help me to explain and then better understand my situation, or mood… or place on this spinning ball of clay and water, are an elixir- one which instantly soothes and calms the rattled nerves which were so prevalent prior to the final draft.
This is why I write.
Although I am not yet, nor may ever be, a novelist who churns out a 500 page thriller each year; I am still an author, one with a story to tell. All writers, if it is in their hearts, will agree that to try and control the written word- to twist and bend the paragraphs into some coherent and possibly clever contortion, is as natural as breathing air, and as enjoyable- possibly more so, than the most perfect of days. For, when the writing is complete, it is a permanent record. The days on the calendar are fleeting figments of our perception of what time should be. They come, and then leave, never to return again. On many levels, the days of the week represent lost and forgotten; whether here or later, moments in time, never again to be re-captured and doomed to carry eternally the conclusion that the midnight hour left them with. To make matters worse, the days cannot be reviewed, except through some lens or … possibly a written record. The day, and the un-recorded life, are gone forever. Once the one who lived them is also gone- all are gone, with no more remembrance than a trace of wind in a cloudless summertime sky.
Writing is the opposite. Not only is it permanent, it is endlessly revisable, and when being used as a descriptor, lends itself better to that role than would a painting or even a high definition photograph. For… writing, and then the reading of the writing, takes the reader on a journey, and that journey is different for each who would read the words.
Many people may study a photograph, and although they each might notice something minutely different in the print, all would agree that “it” is something, and that “something” would be able to be defined and quite possibly named. However, if a group were to read a book, as most who have taken a high school literature course can attest to, each reader will form his or her own “picture” and conclusion of what the writing was, or is- about. This phenomenon is both confounding and comforting at the same time! Nowhere else can a two dimensional, black and white object convert itself into an ever-changing and limitless form of expression? The words on paper are no doubt greater in magnitude than any of the seven wonders of this, or of any world.
The definitions and more importantly- the interpretations of those definitions and styles, are absolutely without boundary, and even to the same reader, will change a bit with each re-read. It is for this reason that I read most books, if I SAY that I’ve read them, anywhere from 15-50 times over. You simply cannot glean the proper visions from the text in 1 or even possibly 5 readings! When I read my own material, I also re-live the event, again- each time with a slightly different lesson learned. The outcome, if it is written about the life I live, doesn’t change. But, the methods and means will by all means differ. In a way, to read my own writing is to talk with, and take advice from someone who is much smarter than me! I am no longer communicating with a kid from southern Indiana, but rather with a well-traveled and versed man of the world, schooled in many different categories of life. My writing, I would hope, reflects this. My normal and everyday speech and inflection most likely does quite the opposite.
The “me” who writes is in some ways an alter-ego of myself. We both hold the same values and morals, as these are inherent in the soul, and cannot be changed, no matter what the medium of expression. However, the writer within me NEEDS to write, and if I can’t write, it is very much
akin to being crippled in some awful way. I no longer feel productive, I don’t feel value in myself, and I don’t feel that life would is at all complete. I write only because it is in my nature to do so.
I write so that I may better know myself, and so that also- others may also come to see me and possibly themselves, in a somewhat brighter and sharper light of day.
I write because … because I must.