…Or why I’m not a beetle
Writing about writing—my that’s a hard one. Which is a bit of a paradox since I write for a living. Even this piece, which I started writing for a website that was inviting entries about what writing means to different people, could be put down to “work”. Needless to say, my entry didn’t make it to the finalists’ shortlist, so, of course, what else could I do but publish it on my own site! ).
It’s hard to delve into what writing means without going into cliches. I read some of the other entries that were published, but none of them had any resonance with what I felt. No, writing doesn’t complete me or put me in touch with my inner self or heal my wounded soul or make me feel beautiful—and no, these are not quotes from the entries, but descriptions I’ve heard before. Maybe something is very wrong with me that I call myself a writer yet don’t imagine my writing is a “window to my soul” or the “meaning of my life” or something equally profound but incomprehensible.
At the crux of it, it’s very simple—mostly I write for fun and the rest of the time I write because I have a deadline. And it’s just something I do. Also, probably, I write because I love to read, and writing is one of the logical steps to take from there. (The other, of course, is to read even more, but, whatever.) But the long and short of it is, if I have to run out of the house during an earthquake, the one thing I’ll take with me is my laptop, Stephen, which is what I write on.
Yes, mostly writing is fun; but sometimes it is that annoying “work thing” that just has to get done before the deadline blows. There are moments when my fingers can’t fly fast enough to get the words out on the page; there are others when even another half dozen words to conclude a sentence is a struggle. There are times when I can marvel at the ideas that tumble from my mind (ugh… modesty isn’t a writer’s strong suit); and there are those when the words on the page makes me cringe (and yet, we can be really hard on ourselves… it’s a mystery).
To cut to the climax, if I didn’t write, I wouldn’t be who I am. And would life be worth living if it weren’t for that quickening of the pulse whenever a new idea popped into my head or a plot point suddenly resolved itself? Nah… I might as well be a beetle.