Were I to be less deprecating about it, less hidden behind my walls, I’d say I write because it’s the only time I’m truly honest. Conversations always feel false somehow, as though a social veil is omnipresent. Even when I try to speak from my heart, my tongue becomes a filter and won’t let truth appear - not in all its fullness, anyway. Yet, when I write, it’s like I suddenly feel connected again. It’s as though my fingers become magic and are able to say things my lips never could.
It’s not the fear that hampers my mouth. No, the fear shows up every time, telling me to destroy the book I just wrote, telling me my writing will never be good enough. Fear is a constant companion that I’ve grown used to. So, no, it’s definitely not the fear that stops my mouth. Rather, it’s the Becoming that motivates my fingers. It’s that unknown something that brings thoughts to page – thoughts I never even knew I had. Writing can be both my Prayer and my Exorcism. It is an enchantment that makes me aware of all my dimensions. Writing makes me. And I want to become something better than the me of today.
When I was little, I used to go to the bar with my mom after school. I would have to wait for a long time while she and my grandpa had their drinks and their cigarettes, discussing everything under the sun. Their talks would extend far beyond the time necessary to complete my homework. I started taking rolls of paper towels out of the bathroom, and drawing and writing until I filled all the space. Seeing this, my grandfather bought me a green hardcover book with blank pages inside. I wrote and drew while they sipped and smoked. I lost all track of how many Shirley Temples I drank. This process consumed me. It didn’t start and stop at the bar, either. I began to draw, write, and read as often as I was able, obsessed with the idea of crafting great stories.
I don’t know what happened to that little book, but the passion of creation stayed with me. I was probably better at it when I was 7 than I am at 37, but if I could find inspiration in a smoky bar, surely I can find it at my comfortable desk. I just remember feeling like I didn’t have to listen to the adults at the table. I like that feeling. Even today, during meetings at work, or at a dinner table with boring conversation, I scribble thoughts on a napkin or hide inside my own head, telling myself stories and pretending things are different than they actually are.
So, that’s why I write. I write because I don’t truly speak. I write because it saved my childhood from boredom. I write because I seek the Magic and the Becoming. I write because, for all my perceived banality, I harbor the hope that something really great will appear.
This post is in response to Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction question: Why Do You Write?