Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why would anyone?

As I drove him to school this morning

Cheese-"Why would anyone want to be a writer? All you do is sit alone and type all day."

Me- "Well there is also research, online, and in libraries, and with people, and oh, sometimes you get to go to different places to research the places".

I could see this wasn't making it sound any better to him, so I added "And some people just have stories inside of them, and feel like they need to find some way to get them out"

I meant for this to sound sort of magical and stuff, but after reflection realize it sounded more like writing is a sort of illness, where by one is infected, invaded, with story like ideas, and must find some way of extracting them, so they can be free and feel right again. And yeah sitting alone at a typewriter or notepad for hours, is the prescription for cure.

So anyway, this the question of my day, 'why would anyone want to be a writer', as set forth to me, by the 11 year old. Yeah I have thought about it before, but based on my inability to make it sound pleasing to him, I wonder if I shouldn't set forth for myself a more engaging answer.

Why have I decided that the ideal way for me to spend my time, year in, and year out, would be alone, reading, and researching, and spending hours at a time sitting in front of a computer screen, struggling with words, and ideas?

Usually when thinking of this question, I focus on the end, of the feeling after, of having created something, but today I am thinking of the process, of a life of days, one after the other, of sitting alone typing. And I am asking myself, how do I feel about that?


Paul said...

I don't know, there's just something about seeing your name on a book in a bookstore that would just be so cool.

You could tell him about the feeling of entertaining others like your/his favorite authors entertained you, but I don't know if that would work on an 11 year old or not.


Akasha Savage said...

Mmmmm....why WOULD anyone want to be a writer? Good question. I ask myself this often when I'm sitting all alone in a silent room tapping away on my keyboard...or not tapping away if my muse has deserted me. I think, like Paul, it is the thrill of seeing your book on a bookshop shelf, knowing that people will be reading about the worlds you've created. But, I also agree with you, taffiny: when I have stories in my head I just can't settle until I've emptied them out on to a page.

bleeding espresso said...

Hmm. I think we'd have to talk about the difference between "want" and "need."

I can ask that same question of just about any other profession you could name because I don't feel a need, a drive a pursue it.

For instance, why anyone would *choose* to be an attorney? Boh.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Because it is a kind of illness and you have to write to get the stories out of you :-)

I write because I must - it's part of who I am. Of course, I could choose not to, but that would be a bit like denying that I look a particular way or am a particular way.

I write because I want to. I write because I love it. I write because it's fun. I write because I always have.

Taffiny said...


Really cool. And to take it off the shelf, and hold it in your hot little hands.

It might, I'll take the suggestion.


I like that idea a lot, of "people will be reading about the worlds you've created". And yeah they do seem to follow you around if you don't find somewhere to put them down.

I guess what I was thinking about was trying to get myself to view it differently. Like we all know that if we exercise we look and feel better, but the process for some is horrible, while some others really enjoy working out, and the balance of people lie between. I want to be someone who really embraces the processs of writing, really enjoys it, uses positive words to talk about it, and feels energized when she sits down to write, rather than focusing on the end-goal person, as a reward for dragging myself along through the process (which I at times worry is my mind-set).


Really good point. When you break any career down to the day to day, how many sound engaging? Sure there are those that seem worthwhile as service, but not at all pleasant to do.
I would surely choose writer over all the other careers that I can think of.


Yeah, I would still write even if I wasn't hoping to be a writer (as I always have written, like a natural extension of my being. My inner life chronicled by endless notebooks of story ideas, lines, pieces, sketches, and bad poetry). I like looking at that way (the way you do) as then it is not really a question, as there is no decision, it just is.

I guess that is my current problem my own language, I am focusing on words like "struggle", rather than "fun" and "love it", I feel those things too, but I think I am harming my own process by how I am viewing it/thinking about it.

Vesper said...

Because one simply has to...

Taffiny said...

Like breathing then.