Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why we write

John, your thoughts hit the mark for me, and I'd guess for many of us. I, too, write because I need to. How can I say this better? (Come on, I'm a writer) When I first started, I wanted to tell stories like my father and my grandfather. Both of them had entertained us children for hours by spinning adventurous tales of daring-do.

Like most writers, I love to read, and always had a book tucked somewhere. No pacing in dentists offices while anticipating having my braces tightened--I had something to DO. As kids, my sisters and I always had books in our hands. Our parents had to make a rule that we couldn't read at the dinner table; that was family time. I composed novels, poems, and essays without inhibition.

As I got older, and glimpsed more behind the words, I beheld my favorite authors' skills with a sense of awe. What insight, what truths! Would I ever posses the wisdom to put words on a page that would move people the way these authors moved me? Maybe not, but I still wanted to tell stories.

Adult inhibition set in, and so did full-time work and other important but time-consuming activities. For a long time, I started projects that I didn't finish. In pre-computer times (remember that?!?), the stained and mussed pages of thoughts and first chapters simply got tossed. Then an interesting transition came about, partly because a wonderful, solid marriage took place (I needed a fiasco the first go-round) and our first child arrived. As you know, this is a time commitment of a lifetime. But it's also rich and inspiring material, and suddenly I realized I wasn't the only confused and seeking parent. I also retired from my full-time job, which had me flying all over the U.S. I needed to stay home and be a mom. I also got to stay home and write. Heaven! Well, sort of.

But the positive aspects keep me going. The self-discovery, the knowledge that others enjoyed an article, a story, a manuscript. The drive to improve. At long last (the first child was 14 and my second 11), publication validated my efforts. But I had a lot to learn.

So here I am, the fourth book has arrived. I'm not earning a lot of money, but I'm not doing it for free anymore, which is very nice. And I've made wonderful new friends. They're exciting, stimulating, and encouraging. What a gift! And maybe best of all, I'm still learning, and relishing every small step toward writing better stories.

2 comments:

John Corrigan said...

Debby,

For some reason my comment didn't post on the date you initially wrote this. Just wanted to say your final paragraph--the friends, the life--resonates for me.

John

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