Friday, October 1, 2010

Word Vomit

I've rarely been asked the question of why I write but in the last week alone that question has been posed twice. And the first thing that popped into my head was simply, what else is there? But when I really took the time to think about it, saying that there was nothing else would be a lie. There's a lot of other things I could be doing instead of writing. Cooking, at one time I considered going to culinary school along with the other millions of things I considered doing in my life. I used to paint and draw but applying a pencil to paper and creating lines in just such a way as to create an image was not as fulfilling to me as applying words onto paper to create images that would evoke a different image for everyone. I could be happy just being a mom but then what would I have to really share with my children if I don't also have something that I'm passionate about?

But why do I write? From the time I could pick up a pencil and actually put letters together to form words, I was writing stories. It's been a part of me my entire life though there were long stints in which the passion was pushed aside. But how can something you're really passionate about ever be gone. Buried under the garbage of life, yes. But it's always there. Fermenting at the bottom, waiting patiently to see the light of day once again. And when all that garbage has been cleaned up and thrown away, oh the stories it has to tell.

Maybe that's part of it. I have something to say and the only way anyone will really listen is if I write it down. A few years ago I went to interview an author that I really admired, who I had learned a lot from. A virgin interviewer combined with my mild social phobia, I had no idea what kind of questions I should ask. Sure I'd prepared a list of questions but the interview went anything but smooth. In fact, by mid way through she was asking me questions about  my life. I shared with her things that had rarely been shared with anyone. But from the stories I told her, one comment stuck out more than anything. "You should really write this stuff down." As far as I was concerned my life was boring. Mattered no more than the grime on the bottom of my shoe. I left her house feeling confused and convinced that was not how an interview was supposed to go. It got written anyway, and much to my surprise, published.

Over the years that one comment always stuck with me. And after a lot of soul searching realized that maybe I did have some stories that needed to be told. Even if they never saw the light of day, there were things I needed to get down. The paper would be my therapist. Words that rose like bile in the back of my throat, soon became...vomit.

Word vomit.

Like when I was in 6th grade and almost puked on the girl sitting in front of me. Words spilled out onto the page in a mess of thoughts and ideas.

And so that is why I write. There's nothing else i would rather be doing. It's cathartic and fulfilling. And now that the vomit is all cleaned up and I have recovered, I have stories to tell.

Why do you write?

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