Thursday, October 06, 2005

Why Write

What makes me think I'm a writer, what makes me write? An inexorable sense that I'm never wrong, ambition, vanity, self-loathing mixed with a superiority complex, lack of everyday work skills, a propensity towards complex speech, an ability to boil thoughts down to sentences, an ear for dialogue, a wish for poverty, more ambition, self-deception, anxiety, anxiety, anxiety, a hyperactive imagination, a brain incapable of shutting down any thought entirely, wishful thinking, illusions of grandeur, subtle creative victories, the desire to catch a moment in time and eternalize it in a way no one would think of - for better or worse...

I've been writing creatively on my own since fourth grade - at the time it seemed like the thing to do - and I've told people I'm thinking of becoming a writer since high school. Most of that time I've thought I'm a terrible writer, with 1% liberally sprinkled throughout of thinking I might be pretty good. That entire time I've been overcompensating for all of the social anxieties and depressions that come with most writers. There's a line between castigation and praise, and at seperate times and from seperate people all writers want both things. One woman I know said she wanted to write novels "for the masses," and it made me bristle. On one hand, it seems awfully presumptuous, and on the other, it seems to be shooting too low. I want to write because when I do it right, I fucking enjoy it.

I would get annoyed in college at people who said "I'm working on my first novel," but you have to start somewhere. It was a sense of competition, jealousy, derision... I still get a little annoyed, but not when I'm worried about what I should be - what I'm doing as a writer. I have scorn for people who say they have no time for literature, but will go on to list Dickens and Twain and Hawthorn as their favorite writers. I have scorn for people who don't read literature. It seems the most inessential of the things to study in college - save communications - but it is the greatest mix of what you might hope to learn, the most poetic example of rational thought, and the most transcendent ability, along with music-making, known to man. People don't read but they watch Survivor. I do not buy the argument that it's a thoughtless passtime. Many people will argue persuasively for their favorite castaway. How is that utilizing the brain in a different way from arguing over text? Intellectualism is scorned in America, because it is assumed to be elitism. I don't think I'm elitist. I think I'm passing time.


Anonymous Scott S said...

Praise be those who have a passion.

10/18/2005 12:43 AM  
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