Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why I Write

I have had many jobs. More than I care to count, frankly. It runs the gamut, of course, from running the till at coffee shops and dry cleaning establishments, to basically professional positions dealing with real clients and real money. The real money was theirs of course, I got paid significantly less than real money. I have even had professional writing work, both as a proper editor and as a feature writer. My greatest journalistic moment remains my interview with Dave Lombardo of Slayer fame. I considered framing a copy and sticking it on the wall above my desk, but I didn't want it to become an epitaph or an "in memoriam." I still have plenty of writing to do.

So why write? Clearly, its not for the money. I would be better sorted being some kind of account coordinator or a plumber, or anything for that matter. Of course, those inclined to credulous optimism always chant the refrain, "Follow your passions, and the money will follow." It may be true, I just wish I was passionate about something for which money could more easily pick up the scent. I would love to tell you that I write because I have a deep passion and desire for self-expression, and that communication knows no higher or more noble form than the eloquent filigree of an elegant sentence. But, of course, that is bullshit. My inner Diogenes knows full well that the choir at that church is getting smaller each week, and that indeed what people want to read is more often than not represented most ubiquitously by banal and instrumental constructions that invite readers to "relate" to and "really feel" what the writer is saying. Oh yes, we must connect with readers, don't get me wrong. But let's face it, one of the reasons I write is because I simply have far much to say, and I unfortunately pursued an academic discipline that helped me develop the tools to spew my inner world onto the page, virtual or otherwise. So, it turns out, that I write because I am primarily selfish and think entirely too hard about things, while I should be playing basketball and forming shallow, but entertaining friendships or something. Xbox maybe?

This is not to say that I don't believe that I have something of value to offer as a writer. However, it is useful to make the distinction between believing and knowing. In any event, for me writing as a process and act involves more of a neurotic tick than a lofty pursuit. It is a compulsion born from a moment of reckoning with a Kierkegaardian sense of dread.  And if that sounds like a bit of pretension, it is. But what, in the end is writing other than embracing a certain kind of self-delusion that attempts to make of the moment something grander than perhaps is called for? I don't know, I barely understand the question myself.

In the meantime, I will continue because I see no other way forward. It seems, as they say, the thing has chosen me, and not the other way around.

All best.

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