For the past three days I’ve been stewing over this “Why I Write” business. Aside from the fact that writing is an essential life skill, I’m not exactly sure why I write. I know I like it, but is liking it reason enough to justify the thousands of dollars and hours spent studying it?
During these past days, as I have contemplated the Why of Writing, a childhood memory keeps shoving its way into the front car of my train of thought. It’s the memory of the first time I wrote anything on a personal computer and it went something like this: I was writing a paper or story for school and had been up all night. I was jamming away, in the flow and time meant nothing. I was into it. I was dreaming and composing and typing and backspacing; I was even doing that new fancy thing called copy and paste. But why is it, that I remember the being into it part, and the dreaming and composing and typing parts, but don’t remember the subject matter part? I’ll tell you why, it’s because I had yet to learn that new thing called Save. All of those hours (of dreaming and composing and typing and backspacing) were gonzo because none of it had been saved.
I’ll spare you the teenage angst that followed this discovery.
This, I believe, is when I discovered that I like to write. But more importantly, this is when I learned that it wasn’t just the process of writing that I liked, it was that tangible, semi-permanent creation that comes as a result of writing that I liked.
With writing, one can create, revise, improve and pass on. It frees the reader from the rigors of image and allows the imagination to interpret scenes and hatch characters in any way they choose. Writing is an art form that communicates clearly and can be dressed up with punctuation, metaphors, alliterations, archetypes, symbols, paradox, imagery, foreshadowing, satire, plot, puns, similes, syntax, mood, verse, tone, dialogue, epilogue, prologue, irony, conflict, denotation, periphrases, oxymorons, portmanteaus, juxtaposition, connotation, flashback, motif and mood.
I suppose I write because it’s a way to create and comes with a packed toolbox full of old words, fresh verbs and an infinite number of phrases. And what writing creates, good or bad, has the tendency to stick around. Just as long as you save it.