So, I’m reading this book called Why I Write for grad school. It is a collection of essays by well known authors about what brings them to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. While the rationales vary widely, there is a common undercurrent of compulsion.
It got me considering why I write. It is often not enjoyable. My current work in progress has many autobiographical events. They’re not particularly pleasant events. Often I feel I’m sitting at the computer and bleeding into the USB port. That would actually be far more efficient and remove the middle man of my head.
Even fully manufactured scenes are a lot of work. Is that leaf I want to describe green? If so, what shade of green? Should I even be talking about the leaf? Would this character care about a fucking leaf? A shitload of work goes into even the most mundane of well written sentences.
In one example in Why I Write, an exasperated dog owner asks the trainer why his dog is doing that. The trainer replies that he’s a dog, and that’s what dogs do. Saying I write because I’m a writer, and that’s what writers do seems as good an explanation as any, but a little circular in the logic. Which came first, the writer or the writing?
I think I really write to teach; to teach myself. To help me decipher and sift through the shit in my head. To make fleeting sense of a chaotic world. (to all the blog critics, yes I know those are fragments). Maybe my own lessons will be instructive to someone else, so I strive to write well.
Ultimately, I find it a needless question. I write. Why do you wear blue socks? The more interesting conversation is the outcome; both of the writing and the socks. Does it contribute in some way to understanding the human condition…..the writing, not the socks.
I’m Darren. I write.