Member Rara Avis
I saw this yesterday... and tried really hard to remember when writing wasn't a part of my life... and couldn't. Although it's been intermittent, with the exception of the past couple of years, I've been writing literally since I can remember.
Not long ago, my mom and I were going through some older stuff at her house. During the reminiscing attendant with browsing through old photographs, school reports and other memorabilia, we came upon several interesting things. One, was the first 'poem' I'd written. It was HORRIBLE! ...Of course I wrote it when I was five. It was about sixteen lines long and made zero sense to me when I read it - but still provided a few laughs and more than an hour or two of consideration since.
Another interesting (and somewhat ironic – see my ’homepage’ link above…) unearthing was the 'newspaper' I was editing/publishing family-wide when I was seven. Replete with graphics, commentaries, and even a cartoon strip ('Football Head' - don't ask...) I had two or three issues of a multiple page production. I had 'hired' my brother as a contributing editor and we'd hand-written/drawn everything. In it we covered things of world interest... you know, things such as what my mom bought at the grocery store that week, and that my baby sister had cried all night the night before. There was a fictional by-play in there as well, though (thankfully!) it was short. Also of ironic note - there was a small part of the issues dedicated to quoted scripture as well as philosophical (from a seven-year-old's point of view) ruminations on God. This discovery too provided no small amount of laughter and contemplation!
Throughout the years, I've written more words than I can possibly imagine or care to count. These words have taken the forms of poetry & prose - fiction, non-fiction, essays, and articles. They've been long letters to a sweetheart, or simple ramblings of what my mind was mulling over at the time. They've been plans of the future, and even occasionally have been somewhat biographical. They've been to inspire & empower, reason & justify. Rarely have they’ve been to hurt, but I have to admit to those as well. I look back and smack myself for all the words I’ve blithely given away – stories small and large, some barely begun. Poems have left my hands, with nary a copy behind – into the hands of a girlfriend or friend who simply enjoyed and wanted to hold a part of me, or perhaps the concept of the words. And of course (like I did with much of my artwork), I gave them to the person with a smile of gratitude because they enjoyed what I’d written.
You know what I really wish? Not that I’d have asked payment – those things I gave away would lose their value were monetary value attached – but rather that I’d have kept or given a copy. Friends move, relationships dissolve, but the words remain. They are immutable once written. But the painful part is that I have no way to bring them back. They exist – out there, somewhere. They are still in someone’s shoebox, or the paper they were written on has been destroyed, lost, burned (some of the relationships didn’t end prettily!), or simply forgotten – but they still exist. They exist, but I can never regain them. They are gone from me, possibly forever.
In the recent years, this has been resolved – at least for any current or future material. No longer written by hand, I maintain a copy of everything I write – whether it be good or bad, it remains with me. I still shake my head in sorrow sometimes to think of all the things I’ve lost in this vein due to the lack of a computer!!!
Another tangent here to reprint my appreciation for Passions – it has given me an outlet through which I can share my words, and keep them at the same time! Now I don’t have to push my words only on those nearby, but I can subject unsuspecting net-crawlers as well!!! There are many facets of this place which one could venerate – the community, the entertainment, the caring. But not least of all is the opportunity to share.
Anyway, I think if nothing else, losing all the words I had before has given me a much larger appreciation for the ones I write now. And believe me, there are plenty of those. I have a tendency, when here, to be one of the more verbose posters (with the possible exception of Ron, and perhaps Kit’s coming in not too far behind!). But even so, I write MUCH more than is seen here. I did a running tally over a few days once. I figured that between emails, poetry (rare these days, I admit), short stories, and the work in my novels, that I average around 10,000 words a day. Granted, a good portion of those words (say 2,000-2,500 of them) are subsequently deleted or copied into my ‘misc’ document, which holds all the ideas that I have, or ideas that I develop for something where they just don’t fit. But still, that’s a lot of words. In reality, it doesn’t take that much time, but is an integral part of my life. I don’t get paid for writing – not yet anyway – but I still have to do it.
Your last question was ‘why’ do we write. If the above hasn’t explained it, then perhaps this statement will help:
I write for the exact same reason I breathe.
Thank you Sven, for an interesting topic, and the chance to ramble on – had to get the rest of my 10,000 today somehow!
Funny thing about mirrors. Like individual thoughts, they can’t be avoided forever.
-Alan Dean Foster