Saturday, July 4, 2009

Some questions for you ...

Firstly, a disclaimer. I wrote this post for a blog competition, but it wasn't chosen, so I am using it here. No point letting it go to waste, and I am quite interested in what you all have to say about the ramblings.

The Russian Dolls poem is still coming. It's been a tough week, as you can imagine, but I've been working through a fair bit of stuff, so it's been good in that respect.

Here is the 'actual' post.

Why do you write? I mean really. Is it just to become famous, to purge your soul, or is it for yourself? The answer so many people give is that writing is for their benefit only. However, they are secretly hoping that fame and fortune will come, that someone will realise who it is writing away in that little room down the back of the house, extend out a hand and an invitation to the top of the pile.

Why don't you get published? Excuses, excuses, excuses, excuses. A myriad really. I can't find an agent, I'm too tired, I've probably written a load of rubbish anyway. They're not excuses. They are a set of golden mantras to live by, and live by them is what so many do. There are hundreds of unknown writers, of which I am one. What can I do to make myself stand out from the crowd? How can I write 'the one'?

Uuh. Too hard. Too scary; and so the mantra starts up again, filling the void that should be recognition.

The hardest question of all ... What right do you have to keep it to yourself? A new train of thought, a new direction to take. What right indeed?!?!?!?! It's my writing and I'll hide it if I want to.

Why do you write? Let's get serious now. To answer that question truthfully, without rhetoric or fabrication, you really need to answer the question - why is it that you read?

I read to experience life. I get a tickle of delight when I come across a wonderfully profound way of expressing an emotion or image. I read to expand who I am; to be challenged with new thoughts and ways of living. I read to delve into the psyche of another human; to break through the cryptic messages that are contained within the string of words placed delicately across each page. I read to see the world in a different way; to take a step back and reflect on what has been said by another, and marvel in how effectively things have been given a life of their own. I read to find out who I am, to push myself into being Gandhi's 'change in the world that I would like to see'.

What sort of world would we live in without Dickens, Bronte, Shakespeare, Rowling? What sort of person would you have been without the printed word? That is why it is selfish to write and to keep it hidden away.

This is why I write, because something I say might just make a difference to someone's life.

After all, isn't that what we are here for?


  1. Why is it that I read?
    Much the same reason as anybody else I suspect. I read because I know that the knowledge and experience I have within me is not nearly enough. I want more! I want the wisdom of those who have been places, seen things I have yet to go and see. I want to know that my experience, this human experience that we call life is not unique to me, but that I have a kinship with everyone else on this small, rotating sphere we call Earth. I read because 'in the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God. All things were made by him and nothing was made without him.' I read because in reading, I find myself and find the knowledge of another that gives life meaning and purpose.
    Sorry if it's incomprehensible babble. But that's some of the reasons I, I need to start writing to know why I write!

  2. I am someone that actually doesn't enjoy reading or writing. Sorry to start so negative, but I guess everyone has their specialities and mine is not with words. Saying that... when I do encounter pieces of writing / novels that just make me go 'wow' I really do feel inspired and hold huge respect for those that have written them.

    Knowing you, Christine and your passion for writing I sense you are holding back in your explanation. I am not transported into your world that you love so much. Each piece of your writing effects different people in different ways. I am not sure how else you could describe your passion as I am not a writer but your personality is not clearly coming through. I have had moments from reading your pieces, transporting me into a place within seconds. I wish I could pin point what is missing for me but I don't have the answer. Sometimes I find it very difficult to describe why I love something so much. I can almost feel the attraction pulling me towards it, just knowing that if I don't trust my instincts I will deeply regret it.

    Always keeping writing.

  3. As a fellow writer, I was really touched by this. I think what you are saying is profound - that we not only want to share what we have to say, but we should share it.

    Thanks for posting this! It's thought-provoking and sincere.

  4. These are very good questions.
    They reached to find the heart of the writer.
    I read to escape the pack I grew up in (three brothers older and three younger) I found out there were other ways to 'be' when I read - lots of different ways.
    So to the last question, if I hadn't been able to read (before I was old enough to go to school) I doubt I would have been able to become the me I became through the medium of the education system.
    I write because I want to create alternate worlds for someone else too.

  5. Lucia, I loved that you used the word 'kinship'. I feel that you've captured what I meant in that one word. Thanks.

    Mon, you're right, and I can't pin point it either. I liked what I wrote, but maybe it's too literal to be me. I usually write and explore a little more deeply (aka cryptically), and I am covering something up; realisitically the inspiration for the post, but won't go into that here. Maybe I'll be brave enough at a later date. Maybe because we are so close that you are able to tell (from the other side of the world) when I am not telling everyone everything (hehe).

    Mira, thank you so much for your comments. They meant so much to me. Describing what I said as thought- provoking, profound, sincere, and saying that it touched you. Wow, ultimate compliments.

    Elaine, I loved that you said the words reached to the heart of the writer. I certainly know about reading to escape, and love that you are also working towards creating alternative worlds for others.

    Thanks for the great comments!

  6. I feel like I am a little out of my depth here, with all of these passionate commenters. It even feels absurd to me to call what I do "writing."

    I read for the same reasons as many others, such as being transported to unfamiliar realms and being exposed to new ideas. I think the biggest reason I like to read is to occasionally experience that deft turn of phrase that inspires that "wow" moment. I am inspired by creativity of any kind, but the manipulation of language to delight, amuse, provoke, and even enrage others has always fascinated me.

    Quite simply, the reason I write is that I have not been involved in something creative in a long time, and it has been a real pleasure diving back in. Even though standing back and poking fun seems safer just now, I hope to one day dig a little deeper. It is a pretty daunting thought, however.

    There is some comfort and safety in being the guy at the so-called 'lowbrow' job who always has the pithy comment close at hand.

    This has been a fun experiment connecting in this way over a little mini-contest! I'm not leaving one of those sycophantic "Nathan, you so fine!" comments over it, though. I have a wee bit of pride left!

  7. Despite the fact that Elaine Smith's entry for Nathan's mini-contest focused on what we writers would eventually do with our best-selling mega-millions... I actually don't write for the ultimate dream of fame and fortune. In fact, I would just as soon be as enigmatic and fame-phobic as J.D. Salinger. If I'm ever lucky enough to have such a choice. :-)

    I enjoyed your passionate post, Christine, because I do write for many of the same reasons that I read... to escape into another world, understand another's point of view, and perhaps grow a little for the effort. Not that I don't enjoy the world I live in, the family I have - because I do, I do! - but there's something infinitely magical about reading others' stories (about unfamiliar people, places, and issues) and bringing to life the concepts and characters in my own mind.

    Even though ICM just passed on my novel (because of its length and - egads! - because the audience is difficult to pinpoint), I will continue to write... because, frankly, I'm not sure what else I'd do with my time. I mean, there's only so much watering the garden needs, so much kibble the kitty requires, and so much attention the family wants.

    Though I'm already a published travel writer, I long to publish my fiction, too - if only to inspire a handful of others in the way that many books have inspired me. Still, whether or not I ever become a published novelist, I will keep on writing. As with most of Nathan's commenters, writing is a calling that we cannot ignore, no matter how difficult the journey proves to be.

  8. It's funny you use the word brave. The biggest and best decision of my life - to live overseas; has made a number of people comment that I am very brave to have done this alone.

    We all must step outside our comfort zone to experience the real unknown.

    For me it was fear that drove me. The fear of not allowing myself to experience something so great, to be me, prove that the world is a beautiful place full of opportunities at every corner.

    I can see why you are holding back but it is unjust. You are already there, you just don't realise it. This is your opportunity to show everyone the beauty in the words you paint, no matter how grey the day. The more you write, the more you can test the waters....

  9. I think we write 'coz we wish to free ourselves from anguish & set it afloat to the world, so it no longer belongs to us...
    Thanks for visiting my blog. sorry for the delay in replying. I was up in the Himalayas, writing my 6th collection of poems.

  10. You must publish your poems. They are so sincere & genuine!
    If you wish, I could send you my publisher's address, & e-mail ID.

  11. Thanks so much Smita. I loved your thoughts - free ourselves from anguish and set it afloat to the world. That is a truly wonderful vision. To be honest, I thought you didn't blog anymore, because I haven't seen you there since I last commented. I hope you get some poems/ photos up soon, so that I can read some more of your writing. I loved it so much.

    PS I would LOVE for you to send me publisher's details :)

  12. I love the line from Shadowlands: "We read to know we're not alone." If that is true, then I guess I write to tell others they're not alone. That's part of it. I write to account for my existence, as well, I think. I've felt since I was eight years old that this is what God wants of me. He must want it for a reason, so what does that say of his expectations for me? I must struggle to do as commanded, I must put forth my rationale for my life and actions. Hmmm. Getting philosophical now....