Alright, this week is an essay instead of flash fiction... Check out the others at terribleminds.
I like this question – why do you write – because it’s only in my best days that I can think of my response. Today is not one of those days. Today is the kind of day where I give up, and forget that I like to write in favour of easier things like reading gossip blogs or watching TV. So it’s interesting to think about why I write when I really don’t want to be a writer.
I write because I can’t imagine not writing. I can’t even remember a time where I wasn’t thinking up stories and plots and characters – writing just gives action to those ideas. That’s not to say that I always write – because I don’t. There are weeks and months where I can’t bear the idea of giving voice to an idea, for fear that what comes out in ink or on a blank page is not as perfect as I imagined it.
I’m always making up stories. Even when I can’t think to do it physically, I write while I walk and think. My characters have conversations with each other in my head or with me, to my dismay. They have opinions and voices – and so I write not to go insane.
I write because the world doesn’t make sense otherwise. People who are focused on power at any cost to other life, or worship money above all else, who don’t recognise themselves as hypocrites… there’s too much for me to understand. Human behaviour is awful – all I think most days is how much better the world might be if we go extinct. So I write. I write because I can try to understand the reasons behind someone’s reasoning, or I can twist and mold it so that evil does not win or good does not triumph. But alone, thinking to myself of where the logic is… I can’t do it.
I write because I don’t like this world and I’m afraid we can never change it. I create my own worlds where I can set the rules and all of that fear and illogical behaviour real people do can be categorised and explained. I like to make my rules for how people should behave or how magic changes the everyday – fantasy is always less depressing than real-life.
I write because I can’t put my thoughts any other way. They get stuck inside my head and the worse they get, the more they threaten to destroy who I am and break me. And I can be broken – I have seen it happen. So writing gives me an escape from myself - a place and characters who can experience what I feel while I stand an arm’s length away. It works. I clarify my feelings and opinions when I write. I give voice to things that I am afraid to say or ideas that I am worried will overwhelm me. My characters take on my problems and my dreams, and I can be as bold as I want without any consequence or risk.
I write because I am lonely. Not always, certainly no, but there is something isolating about the struggle of life. Writing lets me connect with others without having to reveal all my secrets. I am more honest when I write. All my bravado and built-up walls fall away, and you are left with just me. And oddly, when I am writing, I am proud of the person standing shaken in the middle of a pile of brick. I don’t feel vulnerable; just like myself.
I write because I want to make people feel. I am selfish, and I am flawed, but there is something about knowing you wrote a story, an article, an idea, that made someone else stop and changed how they think about something… it’s a powerful sensation. I can’t always make myself happy, but there’s nothing I like more than giving others a way to escape the world for something else entirely.
I write because I am a storyteller. I have been since I became a sentient being. And so I write. I write because it is more long-lasting than my voice. I write because I like to see my imagination come to life.
I write because I am a writer.