Right now, I’m supposed to working on rewrites of a novel I promised I would have to my agent before January 1st. Well, it’s New Year’s Eve and I’m not quite done, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about why we write.
Some say writers write because they have to. Because we’re wired with so many thoughts and emotions that if we don’t release them, we’ll explode, but instead of our bloody guts oozing down walls and clinging to the ceiling fans, it will be emotions — happy faces, sad faces, anguish like even Van Gogh couldn’t capture — painted on the walls and the ceilings.
I don’t know if I totally agree with that theory, although I love the romanticism of it. The idea that no matter what, we writers will find the strength and the courage to write.
Knowing why we do something is important. Life is short. We are sadly reminded of that fact each day. Another plane goes down, a friend dies unexpectedly, a relative gets a tough diagnosis. Or maybe we do.
So why do we spend what precious time we have on this earth, writing the stories of people who live only in the realm of our imaginations?
Is it because of our mortality? Is it because if our dreams come true, someday when we’re long in the ground, someone will be scanning the books on a library shelf and pick up the bound pages we created? They will read our words and somehow our thin, decomposing lips will curve into a smile.
Is it because, and God help us if it is, we believe we’ll make a lot of money. That our books will sell and we’ll have enough money to buy our freedom from the mundane lives we feel trapped in, lives spent behind desks or in front of classrooms or chained to factory or fast food counters?
I remember thinking that I’ll get published and I’ll be able to stay home with my babies and write. Hmmmm. My babies aren’t babies anymore. By the time I got my book deal for Deadly Design, my youngest was already proficient in “that’s what she said” jokes.
Why do we write?
Maybe it’s all the above. Maybe it’s none of the above.
Maybe it falls in the same category as why humankind felt compelled to learn how to fly or why people risk their lives to climb Mt. Everest. Maybe there’s just something in us.
Maybe it doesn’t matter.
All I know is that the world, even for all it’s beauty, would be a dull place if it weren’t for the stories. Awww. The stories. Maybe we don’t write because we have to write or because we dream of fame and fortune. Maybe we write because the stories have to be told.
Well, speaking of stories, I should get back to work. There are so many stories forming like new galaxies out in the universe. So let’s all get to work.
May 2015 give birth to many, many stories.