Friday, July 31, 2015

Networking: Why I Write

As is often the case, my thanks to Chuck Wendig and his terribleminds blog for a compelling prompt this week.

What is new about this week's prompt, however, is that it isn't for flash fiction. Instead, it's for nonfiction ... a personal essay, so to speak, on the subject of "why I write."

That's a loaded question if I ever heard one, but one that nonetheless should be answered by everyone who writes, whether you do so as a career or a hobby or catharsis or something else entirely. It has similarities to a recent question asked by Positive Writer, but it's far from the same.

Here's my answer.

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Imagine that you live on another planet, somewhere else in the solar system or, heck, another galaxy. (It's not like there aren't a lot to choose from.)

You've always lived there, and while its year-round subzero temperatures, bare and unforgiving landscape, and colorlessness aren't exactly enjoyable or comfortable, it's what you know, and that makes it home.

Until the day something changes.

Maybe it's a thunderbolt out of the blue. (Or an asteroid, or whatever would be the equivalent on a godforsaken planet in the middle of nowhere.)

Maybe it's a night you're staring up at the sky and a comet streaks overhead and you see it differently than you used to.

Whatever it is, you're looking around differently. The planet on which you live hasn't necessarily changed. Nothing there has to be different.

You're different.

I write because it's the way I explore the difference.

The difference between where I am and where I want to be.

The difference between the ideal and the real.

The difference between men and women.

The difference between culture and society.

The difference between what is and what could be.

The difference between music and noise.

The difference between love and obsession.

The difference between hate and indifference.

The difference between poetry and prose.

The difference between that which is life and that which is the absence of life.

The difference between darkness and light.

I can't just let the difference go unacknowledged, unexplored, unlearned. I have to know, categorize, reconcile, and I do that by writing.

For me, there is no other way.

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