Been awhile since I've seen her around, you know? My favorite anonymous antagonistic commenter. Today (or yesterday) she posed an interesting question: why do I write? I'm not really sure why she would need to know this, but hell, here we go:
This question would take a long time to answer completely, because in all honesty I don't know why I write, except for maybe the instant gratification I get when people tell me it's good. A vain reason, but a reason all the same. Like many other desperate, needy people in the world, I feel the need to be constantly complimented and placated, lest I fall into the self-deprecating tailspin of an unchecked inferiority complex and overall insecurity. Writing, being one of the few things I'm actually good at, is something I'm complimented on regularly; whether I think it's good or not, when people like my work I still feel like it's worth doing.
But that's a bad reason, and I guess I shouldn't have started with it. A better reason would be the fact that I'm completely f*cking insane, and in the back of my head there's these things that fly around like little dragons or something, flying too fast for me to see even though I know they're there. But sometimes, they slow down just enough that I can grab one in my [mental] hand, and know what they are and put them to words. Putting things into words is a big issue for me, as you know. It's like my thoughts are giant, vague, empty clouds of presence, and I know what they feel like and what they look like but when I try to describe them in ways that other peope could understand, I just come up a blank. I know what they are to the finest fibre of their being, but when I pick up a pen or begin to type they just disaporate.
That word I just used right there, 'disaporate' is not a word. It should be, though. I'm pretty sure there's an actual word that means the same thing that I can never remember, but regardless, it's pretty much a cross between bursting into a million tiny peices in a little poof, vanishing, kind of fogging out in a haze, and collapsing. There's not a word like that (that I know of), so I use a made-up word to describe it. That's pretty much how it is with these cloud-thoughts; there aren't words for them. Why I write is probably one of these cloud-thoughts.
But back to the dragons. When I catch one, hold it in my [mental] hand, grasp it's meaning and it's purpose, I can't just let it go. I have a duty to tell the story, to say what I mean to say, to give these characters life. If I let them all go, they'd all fill my head till there wasn't enough room and the entire thing would just burst out into nothing. And then my temper (which is about a 6) would shoot up to a 10, and my crazy level (which is about a 12) would shoot up to a 80,000,000,000, and I'd want so desperately to do nothing else but write that I'd collapse into a stinky ball of tears and snot and start gorging myself on ice cream and scribble sloppy-faced people in my notebook till my hand started bleeding and fell off and then I died.
Of course, all this is also the reason why I can never seem to write what I really meant to say, which has somewhere around the same effect.
But blaming it on my own personal crazy isn't really a good answer, either. To put it in a different way, I write so all these negative things inside my head don't eat away at me. I write to distract myself from the things I wish I could change so desperately it hurts. I'm always the main character; I'll write so the guy of my dreams actually does fall in love with me, or I make all the right decisions, or I'm ridiculously pretty, or I have some exciting and daring and suspenseful life that I could never have in real life. I do that without writing, too; writing it out just stemmed from my original use of make-believe, which did the exact same thing. I always include the people I know or wish I knew in my stories, whether sub-consciously or not; I always include someone I wish I was.
I guess that wasn't much less crazy. If this makes it any less confusing: when I was little and alone all the time, I acted out stories with myself or with Barbie dolls. Around 10 years old I realized I could write them, and write them well.
That brings me to what I think is my final reason: I love words. I adore words. I'm obsessed with words. I'm not a passionate person--wait, no I am. What I mean is, I don't get passionate about many things. I'm not really into charities or sports or anything. But words--shaping them, molding them, making them into something beautiful and striking and poetic and powerful--I live to do that. I love the English language; I love the things it can say, even when there aren't words. I love it when words twist and shout in your head, like real living things, like something unbreakable and beautiful that only some people can ever be a part of, and I love seeing this all in front of me and knowing that, even if I don't completely understand it, I at least have an idea.
I've always seen writing as a kind of art form; something that requires structure and shape as well as beauty and passion, but because it's purely on a mental level also takes something extra. It's like sculpting, except instead of working with stone you're working with emotions.
Bah, this was longer than I wanted, but anyway, here you go. This is, in the best way I can describe it, why I write. In some ways it's kind of too deep and melodramatic for the real reason I write, but hell, it's close enough. Did I answer your question, Nora? HAVE I APPEASED? It take me over an hour to write; it damn sure better have.
This is a simurgh, my new favorite thing.
EDIT: Something I forgot to mention...no, I do not think I'm the best writer ever, so don't even think it. I actually think I'm pretty bad, compared to some writers. So shush, I'm not that conceited.