Two particular school years burn bright in my memory. Fifth and eighth grade.
In fifth grade, I, an impressionable child taking his first faltering steps into understanding the world, life, and himself for the first time received praise for my writing. By no means should it have been praised, but others sensed a spark there, an energy and expressed their wonder of it.
Their words planted a seed. In eighth grade it blossomed. There, I decided to become a writer and started developing my first real story.
The decision was hardly as whimsical as it sounds. A lot of thought went into it. More doubts clambered onto it. Even still, through the years, I persisted in my choice.
The discipline of internal processing. The hunting of whys.
My father cultivated my natural affinity towards introspection. He taught that everything was a life lesson waiting to be absorbed. Dinners, meetings, failures. Family movies weren’t mere entertainment. After watching, he’d casually ask, “So, what did you learn? Why does that matter?”
The answer was never that awesome kung-fu move where a man’s skull was almost crushed by a flying drop-knee to the face (though he’d certainly appreciate it). We needed to search deeper, find something applicable to life.
So I search, I think, spending perhaps far too much time in my head. But the wrestling has proved beneficial. Within, I have found glimmers of clarity. One of which I’d like to share with you now.
With each passing year, I give more credence to the longstanding consideration I’ve held to put into writing the core tenets of what makes me me. My ideologies. My perspectives. My convictions. My soul’s code.
It is one thing to simply believe them, to allow them to exist as a nebulous substance within. To put them plainly is so much more official, compelling.
I have dared to call myself a writer. At some point, every writer must decide why they chose the pen. This is mine.
I write in order to teach something, or cause people to think and ask questions, or to see something differently than usual. If even a single person reads what I have written and experiences any of my wishes, then my writing was worthwhile, and I can be satisfied in what I have produced.
I write for all to enjoy, but as one who has spent long periods as an outsider, I cannot help but insert certain niche subjects and lines for certain people and groups. To allow those on the outside to get inside and well-deserved glee.
I write in hope of one day being paid for my efforts. While it is an important reason, it is not the most important reason. No one writes purely for money. No one honest, anyway.
I write because the worlds and voices in my head demand a medium to be unveiled. Writing is this age’s method of conveying them. Their stories, all stories, deserve a chance to be told. To be loved.
I write because it is one of the places I am not afraid to be my truest self. Where I don’t have to worry about appearances or how others will react. Writing provides the perfect distance between me and you, where our secret selves can meet and nobody will be the wiser, but each of us will be better off.
I write, not because I think I have important or clever things to say—though I do—but because declaring things orally is often difficult for me and writing helps give form to the beatings of my heart and say what needs to be said.
I write because it fulfills my need to create, to feel like I’m contributing something in this society and world besides breath and space. That there is value present here, perhaps between the lines, waiting to be read, picked up, and folded close to a stranger’s breast.
I write because it makes me happy. Any sorrow, any pain, any darkness I bear within seeps into the ink that stains the page and forms words which can startle, and catch, and hold someone else’s emotions.
I write because I love words. Every synonym, antonym, homonym, and contranym. Their sound. Their complexity. Their playfulness. Their weight. How they march across a page and take up residence in your soul. The aesthetic beauty as they weft the air, soft and sure, in endless celebratory susurration, needing us and yet entirely their own.
I write because it is one of the few things I am good at, and I like to stick with my strengths.
I write because I am not as good as I believe I am, and I need all the practice.
I write because I can’t see myself doing anything else, nor do I want to. Even on the days when I don’t feel like writing. Even on the days where I don’t write. Writing calls to me, begs me to enter into its cool embrace, to find my place, to find myself, and take a step towards the expanding horizon.
I write for the glory of God, I hope. I feel like He would not have placed this vision, this hunger inside of me without purpose. It may be a call, or a lifestyle, but it is mine and I claim it, in His Name. So I must write to a standard worthy and pleasing to Him as well, keeping to the Truths He has provided and I hold as my light.
I write because someone once said, “Only two jobs can speak for the dead: detectives and writers.” Words will carry on and we are the ones who bear them.Writing is one of the few eternal things of this world, and I want to be a piece of that. Once written, read, it becomes a part of someone and cannot be altered or deleted, only lost, waiting to be found by flexuous humans, never quite sure of themselves or their path, yet always seeking the perfect line to guide them.