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.


John Corrigan said...


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.


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