Thursday, September 1, 2011

To Write: To Breathe...

There are people, unnamed of course, who would say that without publication, without national acclaim, it is unthinkable - or at the very least unrealistic - to call oneself a writer. But that only begs the point of what a writer actually is. No, I'm not a published novelist, a well paid journalist, or even a notable blogger. There are a scant few who "follow" my blog, and I get random hits that apparently come from some dentist site in Russia, but I can't claim a wide reader base. These accolades aside, I still believe that at the very heart of me a writer lives and breathes and dreams.
So what is it that makes a person a writer? Is it having a story to tell? Is it a desire to reach the masses? Is it knowing how to read the current market and figuring out how to manipulate words in order to make a profit?
There are a lot of people out there who have been granted the title of WRITER, novelist, poet, journalist, etc. I'm sure that in those categories you can find people who would answer yes to each of the above questions. But what about me?
When I was a kid I was always talking. Most of the time those "listening" to my words of wisdom or hilarity were present only in my own little head. I couldn't begin to remember what it was I felt was so important to tell them, but I was never a gifted story teller. That comes out sounding a bit off, but it's the truth. I could never just come up with an interesting story to tell when asked. Sure I can spice up tales from my own life of transience, but while my imagination soars on the page, I can't just speak it into existence. It's almost as though my fingers are an integral part of my story telling abilities, but I've never figured out how to talk with my hands except on paper.
There are plenty of things I'd like to tell the world. Sometimes it's as simple as: Grow up and figure out that life is not about you! I get sooooo fed up with this era of entitlement. It's as though people have come to the conclusion that because they were mommy's little angle, the entire world should cater to them. After all, we have it drilled into our individualistic developing minds that looking out for number one is not only critical, but also admirable. But as much as I like to talk the ear off of anyone willing to listen to my point of view, I'm not ready to start writing educational pamphlets to get the word out.
Then we come to the idea of a writing being a tool to amassing wealth. It is true that there are things to be researched when attempting to get into publication. Obviously, it's wise to write what the market wants if a person really wants to acquire the coveted "name in print." I wouldn't be so trite as to say that I'm above such things, or that I need to stick by my principles and write only what my heart desires. It's like saying I know better what people want to read than people do themselves. Sorta like on Design Star when Kelly decided that she knew better what the little boy should want his room to look like than what he said he wanted. Just because I have what I think is a stellar story idea, doesn't mean that there will be anyone else out there who wants to read it. At the same time, I can't just write to please a general populace. Just because "someone" was able to sell large quantities of sub-par books, doesn't mean that I'm going to stoop to that level just to make some quick cash.
When people ask me who I am, what I want to do or be, I still come back to the fact that I'm a writer, even though I can't answer yes to any of those questions. The truth is, for me, writing is like breathing. It's something I just do. Something I need to do. When I was several weeks behind in my journal I felt all tight in my head. My journals are not something anyone should, or even could, read. They are not literary master works, or even all that interesting if I'm being completely honest. But they have become an integral part of my life; how I manage my place in this world that so often doesn't measure up to my ideals or standards.
Likewise, my blogs are a place for me to express this world in a slightly more public forum. I don't guarantee that they'll be interesting to any person who passes through, but they're an attempt at both honesty and entertainment. A broader outlet for my light to shine so to speak.
Then there are those stories that still resonate inside my head. The snippets of ideas, the characters that haunt me, the ideas that seek to be revealed. If life was made of time, I would have more of it to spend on completing those stories. However, days evaporate before I even know what's happening. Today, for example, is just gone.
Perhaps, some day, I'll be able to add to my list of accomplishments a literary title. Perhaps I'll figure out how to get the word out and even make a buck or two. Perhaps not. Regardless, (yes, irregardless is still not a proper word despite the fact that spell check is currently registering it, and my boss uses it on a highly regular basis along with a handful of other nails on the chalkboard double negatives) I still call myself a writer. Lowercase is fully acceptable to me.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

i resonate with this post, too. my one goal right now is just to finish my novel....then i'll move that goal up to getting it published....but you are right, days pass so quickly, and there is so much i want to do besides write!! never enough hours in the day. and even if it never gets published, at least i know that i finished it. :-)