Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Rest Of The Story (Why I Write)

Of course I'm taking all the writing classes I can while obtaining my associate's degree. I have a great time, and I still learn plenty. The insight and feedback from an online course has really let me see how my writing looks through a different person's filters and voices. I've tried to take this feedback and turn it into the best product possible. If people didn't enjoy my writing, then there would be no purpose to my work.

Inevitably, we have to write a cheesy bio (I've used the same one for all classes. I mean, how many ways can you say "crazy cat lady nerd" and be original?). Writing classes also give you a soft assignment, which has been without fail to write an essay explaining why I write. The safe answer is that I write because I like the challenge, I feel I was born to do it, and I have spent nearly 35 years writing so why in the world would I stop now? Those are all true, and all valid answers. But there are some things you can't say in an academic setting, especially before you've had a chance to get a read on the teacher. So I leave some things unsaid. My blog, my rules, I'm going to say those extra things now.

The short answer: I write because I'm wired to do it. The long answer: my brain sees everything as a story, every person as a character, and every photo as capturing history. I'm addicted to the feeling. I couldn't stop, even at the cost of my own life. There is some primal magic about making it real, making people feel and participate in a world of your creation, that is just beyond any high chemicals could manufacture. Under the umbrella of journalism and character study, I've been able to get people to open up to me and share their stories, and tell me the most intimate details of their lives. I understand people in a way that few do, and they trust me with their secrets. There is a rush in being printed, in an editor choosing your work over the competition. I smile for days when an editor says something as simple as "great research" or "well done." Someone who understands my craft has just paid me a compliment, how awesome is that? It's the same way a musician feels when they nail a tough piece of music in front of a fellow musician, or an artist when the sketch comes out just right. There's nothing better. A pound of Columbian cocaine couldn't come close to making me feel the way I do when someone tells me how my writing has entertained or affected them. That's why I write. To not do so would be like dying, and to do it a bad job of it would be so frustrating that dying would start to look like relief.

Having said all of that, I don't do it just for the love. I do it for me. If nobody ever read my things, I would write less (demand is a blessed thing) but I would never stop. I wrote for myself for years, while I created things and then tore them apart because they weren't worthy of the readers out there. That's not to say I've never written crap, every writer does it. It's the same thing as missing a note or drawing an errant line through a sketch. But I did spare most of you the early years, when my characters were sappy and stupid, and knew nothing of life because I knew nothing of life. I didn't ask you to read the stories in which I worked out my personal demons. And for the love of baby Jesus, I never asked you to read my poetry.
Now you know why I write, and know of the terrible things I have spared you. You're welcome.