There is an unspoken assumption that writers love writing – otherwise, they would not bother traversing the medieval gauntlet that is querying and publishing. This is true, and beneficial, for many writers. A love of writing can allow one to soldier on despite the enormous setbacks that can and do occur.
I have recently discovered that I don’t love writing.
Of course, there was the initial lust I once felt for every word I committed to paper – a misguided lust at best. I won’t go into detail. In the evolution of relationships, the new and magical luster eventually fades into a deep and abiding love (or a painful divorce, whose wounds time heals).
The evolution of writing – at least for me – undergoes a different metamorphosis.
Shocking as this may be, I have found it difficult to formulate in words what writing means to me. Analogies are fine tools for explanation, and I have finally conceived of one that nearly defines my relation to writing.
It is part of my genetic makeup. My eyes are hazel, my ears are asymmetrically placed on my head, I can curl my tongue, and I write. Therefore, I’m unable to love or hate writing. It simply is, like the ridges that form on my fingernails as a result of an iron deficit brought about through a lack of concern for my nutritional intake, and a strict writer’s diet of coffee and food that does not require advanced preparation.
Writing is a tool with which I function in life. My eyes provide me with the necessary visual relations to ensure that I do not walk into walls. My asymmetrical ears collect sounds. My writing allows my brain to process the vast amounts of raw information taken in by my other senses, and transform that rawness into something with structure and substance. It is the method by which I relate to the world when my other senses fail me, as they often do in the darkness.
Through writing, I am human.
These are pretty words. One may be inclined to believe that I am a poseur; a faux ‘artiste’; a rank novice with stars in my eyes who still believes the trite notion associated with Isaac Asimov’s famous quote: I write for the same reason I breathe – because without it, I would die. In reading this post, one cannot possibly know my soul, know what I have been through in coming to this realization. Pretty words they are . . . and yet my words are all that I have. I do not postulate this theory idly. Asimov’s words were true for him, and they are true for me – no matter how much I may resent this fact on occasion.
In next week’s post, I will explore the logical conclusion that my numerous attempts to withdraw from writing have been comparable to gouging out an eye. Visual representations may be provided if so requested in the comments.
Today’s Zen words: It is always darkest before the dawn, so if you are going to steal your neighbor’s newspaper, that is the time to do it.