Saturday, January 28, 2006

Why I Write

A friend posted on her blog yesterday an analysis of why she writes. It was very introspective and even philosophical, and of course made me imagine what I'd say if someone asked me why I write.

Well, since this blog's purpose is to give me a chance to ask questions no one asks me, here is my response:

*blank stare*

For me, asking why I write is like asking my dog why she marks every two feet when we go for a walk. It's what she does. It's what she's good at. And she simply has to.

In fact, the whole question is kind of dumb. No one asks all those people auditioning for American Idol why they sing. Or an artist why she paints. Okay, they probably do, but the questioning isn't saying "why sing instead of collecting garbage," they're asking "why choose to sing here, for this reason."

Which means the question really is, why write for publication?

That one's a little harder to answer. Wry Write? is just verifying the person's talent. Why write for publication is really, why struggle to do something so hard when the chance of success is so small? People do ask that question, every day, of those striving to succeed in any demanding, competitive profession, like acting or CEOing or panhandling in Grand Central.

The answer, however, is also a blank stare.

It's embedded in all those little bits that make up who I am--a compulsive reader who loveslovesloves popular fiction; a Capricorn, the birth sign of competitive, ambitious people; an oldest child of a single mother who was a staunch feminist and a very strong proponent of the Idea that I could be president of the US if I damn well wanted to; a control freak who likes the idea of a profession where I can call most of the shots; a believer in having something that's totally your own, in a way that motherhood and wifedom and Working For Someone Else are not.

Really, the more appropriate question is, Why Not?

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