I have no idea why I write. After attempting to find an answer for a few days I have come up with nothing. Though I think this is a question for the ages. Why does anyone who is a writer choose to do so? Especially for bloggers like me who aren’t able to write full time yet. But I suppose the answer lies within my own question. I don’t write because I choose to, I write because I must. A feeling I now know I share with all fellow authors out there.
I cannot write just anywhere like Shonda Rhimes (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2015/11/for-my-monday-evening-spent-with-queen.html) but noise has never been an issue. My entire student life I could not work WITHOUT some background noise preferably from the Golden Girls or Law and Order marathons on TV. They just work best; I know all of the episodes and jokes so I do not have to actually focus on it. Also playing a song aggressive loud and singing with my inside voice over and over to the same song helps. The song is random but today I was aided by Mary Mary and Biggie Smalls.
I think my brain will always enjoy activity while writing, studying, or doing research (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2011/05/for-game-plan-part-ii.html). It is just in my makeup. When I am reading a really good book, one that is providing insights or finding the words I could not to express myself I always instinctively look for my flags and highlighters. In a pinch I fall back to post it notes even though I think they look too big to be used for this purpose.
The one thing writing ALWAYS takes is my ability to be vulnerable. Depending on the topic of my writings or my mood I will need different things to reach this goal. I will retreat to a moderately lit room, noise in background of course, with just the right amount of distraction so the words will bubble up to the surface and pour out. This delicate balancing act aims to avoid having something nearby that is so distracting I will let myself out of the task of writing.
But before you can write you need to know what you are thinking about. Sometimes I know the subject and not one thought had yet surfaced. Sometimes I know it’s in there somewhere I just need to put my fingertips to the keyboard. Rarer but still happening occasionally, is the struggle to begin. Once I have the lead sentence or even the ending I will work simultaneously top down and bottom up until the middle-, which was formerly the hardest part but now is the smallest. So far that trick has worked for me thus far when I am drawing a blank or lacking concentration.
As I mentioned around my birthday last year (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2015/12/for-my-34th-birthday.html) I began to acknowledge the forces in my life that were encouraging my writing leading me to realize that 2016 would the greatest year yet if I only continue to work at it. The women behind that realization were Elizabeth Gilbert and a new writer I was interested in, Meredith Maran. Ms. Maran is an author/editor of books I treasure, as she is herself a memoir-telling author. She has penned many articles as well as several nonfiction books. But it is her book “Why I Write” that was like a brick wall coming down around me. It further convinced me that all writers are valid because they deem the work important for their emotionally survival whether it paid the bills or not. The writers included were from all backgrounds and wrote all different types of materials. Her latest publication is the brilliant “Why We Write” featuring authors talking about why they write their life stories. Genius idea. Wish I had thought of it.
Since my first read of hers I have happily talked to her via social media and learned that Power House Arena in DUMBO would be having a book launching event with a talk and signing, by Meredith Maran and three other writers from the new book.
These authors were not previously known to me prior to this event but after that night it is not likely that I will forget them. I must read all of their memoirs immediately. They are already in my Amazon cart. Those few discussions I heard about them hooked me immediately.
A.M. Homes was hysterical and brutally honest, traits I admire. The background stories she gave for her memoir’s book signing in her hometown literally made me talk out loud while listening to her. It was one of the few stories I have ever heard where life is stranger than fiction, stranger but in her case fascinating.
Meghan Daum’s recent book of essays “The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion” includes the one she shared with us, “Matricide”. I have to say I am afraid but intrigued to get to this collection.
Last but certainly not the least important was Darin Strauss. When I found out he wrote a book about Chang and Eng the notorious conjoined twins I immediately thought of the time I saw their body cast at the Mutter Museum (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2015/08/for-city-of-brotherly-love-benjamin_27.html) in Philadelphia. That was before he shared the first line of his memoir “Half a Life”. After reading that book’s review in the New York Times this week, his memoir has appeared to have skipped to the head of the line.
It really does seem like the universe gives you what you need when you need it. I am trying to be more open and willing to learn and change in my thirty-fourth year. Having started on this particular phase only two months ago I feel like I have grown in leaps and bounds.
I had “Why We Write” on my Amazon list for years. I don’t even remember where I heard of it or when I added it. After so much time looking at it and hitting “save for later” I decided to bite the bullet. Since then it has exploded in my life making room for all of the inspiration I have ever wanted.
Knowing the sequel was coming seemed to confirm it for me. I haven’t read it yet but I cherish just looking at my signed copy. When I sit down with this one it will be with a stack of highlighters, flags, and pounds of coffee. I am waiting for the perfect moment. The long weekend coming up is calling my name.
No matter what, writing always makes it better. Once I accepted it and believed it I only have to mutter it to myself occasionally before it kicks in. I know it is true no matter what I am feeling or dealing with. I now know it doesn’t even matter what I am writing about. The entire act of connecting with my soul in this format does something for the other parts of me. As I struggle to string the right words together to tell my stories I am also finding my way through those events making my peace with them at the same time. Writing and sharing takes the sting out of actions that have a big bite when recalling them.
By the time I am writing “it” down I know I am ready to let it go, or this is what I have to do to let it go. I have never been a person who can swallow my feelings completely. In some way I have to communicate those thoughts out loud to release them. I could never keep my emotions all bottled up. Maybe that’s why I always have so much to say?
For me words are like weapons and mine are no different. When they have been used for good I have been able to make even the most stoic of people cry (or as they called it “sweating from the eyes”). On joyous occasions I like to think the words I share with loved ones have added something to their day.
But make no mistake when I decide you are worthy of my wrath the sharpness of my words will cut right into the heart of the matter. I am not a beast you want to poke out of a slumber. So if you start something know that I can finish it for us both.
Now that I have just shared with you, why I write, specifically about myself I realize it doesn’t much matter. Sure it is nice to know that people will read this (which I never take for granted) but ultimately no matter how much I share you there will always be more for me to discover about myself thus creating more material for me to share.
Since I started this journey of creating a space that was all mine, I wanted to share information I feel that like-minded people could use to increase the amount of pleasure they experience in their free time. Above all, the blogging, traveling, photography, and the like are what I am doing for myself, no matter if another soul ever reads or likes it. This awareness makes my writing the ultimate freeing experience for me. I suspect that is why others tell their personal stories even at the expense of those involved. Not everyone might be okay with their lives told to the world the truth can hurt for those who haven’t braced themselves for it. However I have never thought twice about sharing my stories, as they are my point of view sort of the whole point of my writings. As they say on the Golden Girls “I have to say what I feel”…told you I knew every episode!
The knowledge that “I did it for myself” is second only to “I have created it for myself” my proudest accomplishment so far. With the fifth anniversary of my blog just around the corner I am glad I sure glad I shared these last realizations.
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