**IMAGE TAKEN FROM DAILY MAIL WEBSITE**
I don’t know why I write. Wait, maybe I do. It’s therapeutic, it’s enjoyable, it entertains people, it gives me something to do … but none of this is truly why I write.
I type words from ideas that the storyteller in my head furiously shouts at me on a day to day basis. Unkindly, and without much empathy for any of the practical things I am actually doing at that minute, his voice, old yet vibrant, hollers to my ears, “STOP FUCKING WALKING AND WRITE THIS DOWN.”
Of course, I don’t always stop. In fact, often I don’t, promising him I’ll remember. Which I rarely do. I think he wipes the ideas clean from my mind just to fuck with me. Just to prove he’s in charge and that’s that.
Essentially, he’s right.
Without really understanding it, I’ve spent my entire life telling myself stories, constructing fantastical worlds and locking myself away in the, often confined realms, of my imagination. As a child, I would ask my gran, “Can I make him do this? Can I make the soldier fly? Can I make the Barbie a witch?” She would always reply, encouraging me more than she realized, “Of course you can, it’s your game.” And I never really understood what she meant.
Now that I’m a ‘writer’ (not in doubt, I do ACTUALLY write but since it’s not my way of earning money, does it really count?), I kind of understand what she means. But the child in me, no doubt irritating the old man, still wants to ask permission, “Can I make him do …?” They are my worlds I know this. I created them, shaped them, populated them and then, just for good measure, fucked them all over, but still I wonder, “Who am I to do this?”
Not to piss off any religious people but as a writer, (maybe not, maybe just as a closet egomaniac) reflecting on your work, it becomes very easy to feel like God. Or a God. Or Anubis. Or any deity you prefer. These people (and to a social recluse as myself, they are more real than the boy who lives down the stairs) are mine to manipulate, to give wealth and prosperity, or inflict death and misery upon. Most powerfully though, they are mine to give love and receive love in return. I am their creator, their life giver and most of them don’t know I exist, but they love me or, at least, I believe they would if they knew me.
So, maybe that’s why I write: to control the worlds of people powerless against me or, perhaps more endearingly, to manufacture love from imaginary beings inside my head.
But, neither of these options feels right.
Obviously, I am too close to the project to have any semblance of objectivity but I can put it in context. I often find it difficult to inflict great pain or strife on my characters, even the ones I don’t really like. I don’t hate any of them enough. They are all, to some degree, mirrors of myself (said every writer ever) but it’s true. Maybe it’s because I’m a novice, and haven’t worked through whatever issues I believe led me to writing, with enough gusto to free myself from their powerful grip and, subsequently, I still act as a conduit for them to print themselves on the page in front of me. Or maybe it’s because I want, no need, them to love me. Some deep-seated desire just to love something and be loved by it in return.
But, again, none of these explanations feel right.
I am loved and I do love. I don’t enjoy the responsibility of control and, like most people, love a front seat to a Karma party but never enough to actually be behind the cosmic vengeance itself. I believe what I put out into the world will come back at me. Not three fold, perhaps, but back. And I don’t like those odds.
Instead, I have a theory that might better explain why I write but make me look even more insane than I already do: I have experiences I want to share. Simple. Well, simple-ish.
Without detail, and with the knowledge that pain is relative, I experienced trauma and horror as a child that I then self-inflicted on myself as an adult. Crucially, however, I only started to self-inflict, when I felt like I was no longer of any use, when I no longer believed I had a message worth sharing. Without cliché, if what I write helps one person then I’ve done my basic job as a human being – looked out for my fellow man. If what I write is read by more than one person, say, a million, then I will have done what only a few in history ever had – I’ve collective influenced a group of people, as a whole. This is not to say that helping only one person is less useful than an entire group, it’s not. Often, that one person needed help far more than the group en masse ever did. To have someone relate to you is an experience that the human psyche must crave, surely? To believe you are, on some level, on par with another human acts as an emotional anchor against the storms life will no doubt bring later. But, on a grander scale, to help many individuals and have them relate to you is not something only the most egotistical desire, in fact, I think that it’s those that feel most ostracized from their fellow humans that are compelled to seek, not approval, or even acceptance, but simply, relatability. To know that the pain or hardship they have gone through was not exclusive to them, that it was not a victimization by a vengeful God with an old man in his ear telling him to start writing. It was a random, tragic yes, but random, series of events that, unfortunately, happened to you. It’s not because it had to happen to you, it never, ever did. It’s validity in the story of your life rests on your shoulders: what did you do with it? If you want to drink yourself to oblivion, or cruelly reject those who wanted to help you, or cut into your leg so deeply that the bone peaked out and showed you what you’re made of underneath, then by all means have at it, I did, but when you let that become the sum of your life, then you failed. You were winning before. You were surviving. You had a power some may never, ever have – endurance. To give that up is the moment you begin to fail, to come back up and fight for your life and give yourself meaning, that’s when you become who you are. Hell and back is the best journey anyone can ever take. But once you’ve done it, truly went to hell and back, you never go back their again because you realize, hell never existed in the first place – but you do. And more importantly, still do. GO YOU!
So I guess I’ve discovered why I write, amongst all the metaphors and preaching, I want to know I’m not alone. I want to know that I am not a treasured item favoured by whatever God I believe in, but the very opposite, that I am no more or less special than anyone else. I want to achieve great things, my ambition is beyond any true, sane objectives but I’m a writer and I live in a world beyond the petty put-downs of people older than myself that sit in their piles of unfulfilled promises that they acquired in youth and that now rest beneath a pile of adult responsibilities. I might always ask “Can I do this?” but I know I will always ask the question. I’d rather aim for the stars and end up on the moon, than shoot for the sky and fall beneath the waves of the sea.
I write because I want to be read.
But if no one reads it, if no one takes in what I write, have I really written at all? If having written means I have been understood and connected with another soul I do not know, then I leave myself only one option – to continue writing and just know that I have done my bit for the rest of the world.
Even if the world never knows I tried.