Thursday, May 24, 2007

Why I am a writer

It has been an interesting week, to say the least.

I saw a bunch of old friends, people I knew in college and haven't seen in 15 or more years. When we got to talking about our lives, the paths we had chosen and such, of course my writing came up.

Two old friends of mine, people who knew some of my short stories from years ago, had very different reactions to my writing today.

One of those reactions hurt me quite deeply. It was the usual negative garbage. "Are you still fooling with that stuff? Even when it isn't paying your bills or anything? Shouldn't you be focusing on something real, something that puts food on the table?"

I need say no more on my feelings about those remarks. The other writers reading this will know how I felt. Those of you who aren't writers might know too.

But after hearing that stuff, my other friend pulled me aside a few minutes later. He was interested in "why" I wanted to be a writer.

And the truth is, I've never had a good reason why I want to be a writer.

Until now. This day. My one old friend, through our conversation, helped me realize the real reason I am a writer.

I have always felt a "calling" to be a writer, but beyond that I didn't have a clue.

But it's simple, so simple. And I'm sure there are other writers out their with the same reasons for being a writer, but probably not the majority.

My reasons for being a writer come down to one word: rebellion.

It doesn't matter what kind of rebellion, just rebellion. Rebellion against the liberals. Rebellion against the conservatives. Rebellion against TV, radio, other writers, family, life, bosses, God, whatever you have.

I had something made clear to me today. On the outside, I'm a pretty easy-going guy for the most part. I do what I have to in our modern U.S. society to keep going along without stirring up too much trouble for myself.

Even on the inside, I'm no roaring tiger waiting to be unleashed. Maybe when I was younger, but not today.

But still, I write because I rebel.

Especially if it's not logical, or it strikes of nepotism ... I rebel.

Or as my friend told me today: "I think you write because you want to give a big 'fuck you' to the universe. Especially to those who think you can't succeed. And you think everyone, even God, is against you, like you're trapped in some twisted version of the Truman Show."

I believe that's right.

And maybe it's not a very good reason to be a writer. For me, it's good enough.


Jordan Lapp said...

I'm sure that friend thought they were doing the right thing, but why not ask others "why they're still playing around with fish" or "model trains" or any other hobby?

Writing's a hobby that has the potential to turn into a career. Your friend should have treated it that way.

Anonymous said...

Good observation Jordan.

Disregard that first c**ks****r, Ty - he obviously has no meaning to his life other than the pursuit of cash.

I'm not sure I agree with the rebellion reasoning, though. Perhaps specific to you, but to extend it to writers seems a bit much. I'll have to mull it over. - HvD