Why write? It's only partially out of vanity. I write because I need to do it.
I have always had to write. Growing up, I was told to be quiet. I was told many times in many ways that I was not worthy. I fought. As a teenager, that meant angry outbursts and a method of defiance.
There was no-one to counsel me, so I needed to counsel myself. Many teachers mocked or criticized unfairly. Librarians and parents blocked my efforts to read. School classes were insufficient.
Ironically, I fought to learn. I fought for wisdom. I fought to be able to make decisions and run my life. It was, though, a quiet revolution.
I was in fact, not very verbal. I had natural ability to write. Whatever the teachers did and said, they had to acknowledge that there was talent at writing.
What I jotted down in my diaries, though, I hid in shame or threw away in disgust. I was my own enemy, rejecting my own thoughts a lot of the time. I guess I had a problem in trusting myself, despite my own arrogance, penchant for the unconventional and modest boldness.
Contrarily, I had to believe in myself since there was apparently no-one else to vouch for me. My school chums paid compliments from time to time. There was not much other support. Some people, including those with power over me, signaled fear and hatred. There seemed to be no reason other than because I was good-looking and likable, not to mention good at a range of things. Daggers struck from various directions. With neglectful parents, needling brothers, and scorn from many teachers, I could not trust. I did not let those more sympathetic and kind very close.
Yet, I had to talk somehow. That is because I thought. I could not help it.
Writing let me think and therefore gave me freedom. I could control it. I could defend it from the onslaught of critique by holding it secret.
For decades, I kept it in secret. Whenever I ventured to expose it, offering a poem here, an article there, it was ignored or cut down. Others might read, but usually react without commentary and instead see it as an invitation to talk about themselves.
So much of what passes for discussion is actually a series of monologues, it seems to me. Opinion is met by decree of those in a position to assess (professors, editors, designated--often self-appointed)--community leaders or activists), or it inspires a counter-opinion. In some cases, it provokes mimicry as others might attempt writing in the same way on the same topic without speaker to other authors. In some cases, it is stolen.
Nevertheless, some sort of gratitude and appreciation would seep out. I relied on that and an inflated ego to push me forward. It was stop and go.
I was never acknowledged as a writer, however. I did not need acknowledgment, though, as much as validation and response. I mostly needed to know I was heard. Most of the time, it felt like I was talking to the wind. It feels like that now.
So much of personal human endeavour feels futile and absurd. Yet, as I age, I adjust my perspective. There is so much we do not know, while we are learning more about the universe, the Earth and human existence.
Being true to oneself and others still matters. Forgiveness and humour are paramount. Leaving judgment to God or whatever source of power, grace and mercy is out in there in the beyond is not a cop-out; I think it is an imperative.
I can just try to be and grow. I can try to see what is happening around me. I can try to determine who is who and what is what. I can build language and expand social reality. I can reflect on what humans can change, and what ought to be changed. I can, should and will advocate for and defend virtue, peace and social justice.
With a lot of experience in activism, I join the voices that support art as a way to be honest and responsible. Not all art is virtuous or responsible. Some tells lies, just like the all media.
I only have my experience. It is necessarily filtered, so I do not feel bad or guilty about that. My experience is my narration. It is my observations, thoughts and emotional responses. As a writer, one cannot offer more than that.
A writer can and should try to develop discussion. I applaud those who continue to try and do not give up. It takes being strong.
Without writing, the thoughts have nowhere to run. They go round and round like a hamster on a wheel. They breed neurosis.
Therefore, thoughts need space. They have to be let out. They can never return, once let go, though.
Solitude and seclusion, by contrast, can nurture a healthy imagination. Too much is unhealthy, while the right dose can cure neurosis, ground oneself, and cultivate stories. Sooner or later, though, the characters and plot have to be let loose. They need to roam. They will consume their creator, otherwise.
I imagine characters in places. That is how the creative process goes for me. I imagine how they respond to situations. I have them meet other characters and give them problems, and watch what happens. Soon, these characters are leading me and turning their own pages. It is exciting to see where they take me. They let me share their experience while they borrow from mine. It is a sharing, and exchange. These characters enrich my life, so I in turn give shape to theirs. I provide some orientation. They must find resolution, so I help them solve problems and make decisions, which can be very hard for me. I have enough problems of my own and am reluctant to solve theirs, but it must be done. When I do succeed, I am pleased. It is also a learning process for me.
I am thankful that life has let me have the luxury of so much time to myself. Having so much time is a strain on the pocket book and socially constraining, but a wealth of thought and creativity grows out of it. It lends me freedom.
There is a lot of imagination churning and characters and ideas that need to find their place in the literary-scape, these days. I am compelled to release and assist them. It is for my own peace of mind and satisfaction, if also for their own good. It is for their liberation which in turn grants me liberation.
Excuse me, then, if this activity is somewhat selfish. It is not entirely. It is a compulsion that can provides some therapy for me, ideas and readers.
Let us do it and see what happens. I am better at talking and writing because I am better at thinking. What do you say if I trust you and you trust me?