Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Why I Write--Part 1
Back in college I was enrolled in a public speaking course. One day I presented a speech on the subject, “Why Writers Write”. I’ve often thought about my own motivations for writing and it’s a subject I revisit often in my classroom. When writers begin to share their writing, or to even move towards publication, the discussion may seem to become more complicated. There are numerous writers who have delved into this topic of conversation. George Orwell and Joan Didion are just two of a slew of writers who have written essays answering “Why I Write”, and today I stumbled upon a website which shares a collection of similar essays. Visit http://whywewriteseries.wordpress.com/ if you are curious. I don’t want to attempt to explain the ins and outs of why I continue to write and post on this blog nearly every day. I don’t feel like justifying my choice to share my writing by adding a link to my blog entries on Facebook for my friends to see. Maybe I’ll come back to this later, but for now I like and agree with what I read in Natasha Costa’s essay, “I write because I am human”.
When I reached out to my friend mentioned above, a dear old friend from my “teenhood”, a man who I have not visited or spoken face-to-face with in over 28 years, I did so knowing he’s a writer too. But I also knew that he is very grounded and wise, and someone whose values greatly resemble my own. Reading his response comforted me. In part, he wrote, “Writers must expect a certain maturity from the reader. If we continue to feed the reader only nursery rhymes or iambic pentameter we are saying "You can't handle the harder things of life..." Some of life's rhymes are obtuse, a lot of life is more Grimm than Mother Goose. Let the reader decide what they want to read, the writer must write”.
As if on cue, I went to Mass on Sunday and the gospel reading was “The Parable of the Talents” (Again, visit this link to know more: http://www.esvbible.org/Matthew+25.14-30/). I couldn’t help but believe there was a reason this story was shared that day. I don’t want to bury my writing. I want its seeds to sprout.
And then tonight, as if the words above were not quite enough, a former student of mine read my most recent blog post. Within minutes of my posting it, this message was left on my Facebook wall: “Needed this. I cried reading it”.
At the top of my blog are the words, “Inquiries, insights, and imaginings from a small town girl who wants to do some good in this life”. Thank you Gerard and Megan and Esther and Gina and all others who have reinforced that gut feeling I have that my writing, even if it's not being published in traditional, perhaps more “acceptable” ways, is somehow making a positive difference to an audience, however small.
And thank you dear one who worries over me and my privacy. I know your heart is in the right place. But to anyone else who scoffs or rolls his/her eyes at my stories, reflections, or my writing itself? Well, go elsewhere to read what you want to read. Perhaps there is nothing here for you and that is okay. I write because I am a writer and this is what I do.