I realize I should probably title this, “Why do I write,” or, “Why do we write?”
But, the first is too egocentric for my taste. And the latter is too academic, and almost anemic. So, “Why do you write?” shall stand for a little while.
I write, because I can, writing releases the pain for a while, and I have readers.
But, does that mean everyone writes for the same motives? Do you write for the same reasons?
Or, if you do not write, do you read for the same reasons?
The first reason is one of those truly strange answers. I can write, but I do not write well.
But, I am a much better speaker than I am a writer. A friend of mine once told me, “Wayne, had I not beaten you, you would have won the International Speech Contest this year for Toastmasters International.”
David was being sincere, and I was just as sincere in my answer of “No. I cannot.”
Not because I speak as badly as I write, rather, writing does not require a body to work, speaking does. And my body is no longer able to maintain that level of speaking.
The second reason I would like to deal with lastly.
So, do you write because you have readers? Do you develop a relationship with your readers? Or, if you read, do you develop a relationship with the authors you read?
Isn’t relationship one of those funny words? Nowadays, we throw that word around too much. But, writers, movie stars, singers, and other ‘performers’ really are not the same if they do not have an audience.
So, maybe a performer is a great broadway performer, or maybe a sexy star like Lilly Langtry and had a town named after her, even though she had never been there. So, whether a performer knows their audience in real life, or not, seems to have little to do with this kind of relationship.
This kind of relationship is more about a meeting of the minds.
And in that, authors and readers unite on an intellectual level. Beyond the grammar, beyond the language, beyond the ‘Science,’ beyond the here and now. And in the psychic realm. In the spiritual realm.
And here the process becomes murky. Sometimes dark. Sometimes even sinister. We hear of fans who believe their Hollywood idol is ‘secretly’ in love with the fan, always their reason is something like, “I know they love me.”
But, always empowering. There are few things in the world as powerful as sharing a story.
We call it entertainment, but that is now the realm of Hollywood and computer animation.
It is beyond ‘entertainment.’ It is a meeting of the minds. Across space, and across time.
I can meet with ERB (Edgar Rice Burroughs), or with Shakespeare. I would probably enjoy meeting with the mind of Edgar before meeting with Shakespeare, I know I did in the past.
But, time and distance, and even language are not barriers.
And that truly makes writing more powerful than speaking usually is. We must wait and see if people watch YouTube videos of speakers a hundred years from now.
And lest I forget my second reason, let me return to it briefly.
Do you write to escape? Or, do you read to escape?
I write to escape the pain. I used to read to escape the here and now. I have read of so many people who claimed they visited far off lands through other people and their writings.
Do you do that? Do you escape to other lands? Do you travel in your mind?
I think it is related to the meeting of the minds, but for me, this is the most powerful of the reasons. Reading, or writing, triggers that creative spark within each of us.
It triggers the ‘fictive dream.’
Don’t you think so?