Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Why Writing is a Tin Can Phone

Image result for tin can phone

Well, hi.

It's been a while, hasn't it? So much has happened since I last posted. My book came out, we moved to Utah, busyness, good things, not-so-good things, life. Sums that up pretty well.

I realized lately that I miss my blog. I miss posting stuff I'm just thinking about. So I'm going to share something I've been thinking about recently.

I have seen the question asked of writers, "Would you write if no one else but you could read it?" Most of the answers I've seen were that yes, those writers would write anyway because writing is in their blood. That they have to express it even if no one reads it. And while they are exactly right in their answer for themselves, I couldn't understand how someone could write if no one read their words, yet I admired them at the same time. (Unless it's journal writing, because going back to read your own experiences can be a learning experience. But stories? I couldn't fathom it.) Something deep inside me, from the center of my bones whispered, "See? They are real writers. You pick and choose when you write. Therefore, you are not truly a writer. You are not truly an Artist. Because an Artist has the essence of their Art, who they are, in their very marrow. It begs to be let out, to twist and turn and form in beautiful strands of words or pictures or whatever is their passion. Because beauty exists even if there is no one to see it."

You can probably guess my answer, since I was so conflicted. Would I write if  no one was ever going to read it?

My answer is a strong, unequivocal, no. 

Absolutely not. I wrote poetry as a teen to let out my own pent-up feelings, poetry no one ever saw but me. However, stories--I can't explain why, but with them, I couldn't do the same thing. And after a few years of feeling guilt when I heard that question, feeling that maybe deep down I really wasn't born to be a writer, I understood why. The reason washed over me today, lighting my world with understanding. That bone-whisperer has been laid to rest with the peace of certainty.

No, I wouldn't write stories if no one could read them. I write because those words inside me yearn to reach out and grab you by the lapels. They want to play, to dance, to sing, to cry, to scare, to tease, to fall  in love, to be friends, to make you think, to distract you from what you need distracting from. The idea of writing reminds me of children playing with a tin can phone. If there's no one on the other end to share in the fun, to hear me, to laugh with me, cry with me, get angry at injustices with me, then what's the point?

I write to make something. I have the drive to create. But I can't complete the string phone line on my own. Someone has to be on the other end. When you pick up my words and let them bloom in your mind, color them in with your understanding, lend your joy and your pain and your laughter to them--then together, together, we build an experience. It's our connection, though I will never know exactly what that connection will be. And if they make you sad, or happy, or angry enough to toss them out a window, then it's all worth it. We've communicated and made humanness in a space where before there was only emptiness, waiting for something to bring it to life. I channel myself through the pen and into the paper, and when you release my words and set them free, together, we create a story, you and I. No other story will ever be exactly the same as the one we tell side by side.

Even if the only words you ever say to me are, "Hey, I read your book."

That's why I write.

1 comment:

Heidi said...

There are plenty of "real" writers, whatever criteria you use to define that, who must have an audience. There is a saying--you can't write into a vacuum. Some can but plenty can't. Like you said, it's an art form and art is meant to be consumed. It isn't complete until it is consumed. I would still write if no one read it but back when that was the whole truth for me, I still LONGED for someone to read it. The hope that someday someone would was what drove me. Except for poetry--I could write lots of that without needing anyone to read it. I wonder why that is?