Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Reason for Writing

One of my new good friends, Ben, has asked the question of why we write. His query has inspired me to give blogging another go, more earnest and sincere than previous attempts.

In my history of writing, my reason for doing so has morphed and changed. A large reason of why I've had difficulty keeping up with writing in the last year or so has much to do, quite possibly, with a bit of confusion on that front. But whenever I do write--for the sake of this particular answer, when I write fiction--there are some things that are most always present.

At the most basic level, I must simply quote C.S. Lewis--"I wrote the books I should have liked to read. That's always been my reason for writing." In the end, I only will spend time working on character and plot development and all the effort that goes into actually writing a book if it's a book I should enjoy reading. Sometimes that is, in point of fact, the motivation for beginning such an endeavor--something sparks my imagination, and an amorphous idea takes seed, if I may mix my metaphors. And I think, 'if that were a book or a movie, I should like to read or watch it.' At which point I decide if it needs reading and doesn't yet exist, clearly, it needs writing.

Reading--another world.
By Selina R. Gonzalez
At a bit of a deeper level, I fear I have to be corny again and quote another favorite author--this time J.R.R. Tolkien. “Fairy tale does not deny the existence of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance. It denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat...giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy; Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” "We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.” Basically, I write to reflect life--or perhaps life as I would like it to be. This is why my genre of choice is speculative fiction. I find all fiction provides an ideal medium for the exploration of real-world ideas in a removed realm that makes it somewhat objective and allows an alternate angle of viewing ideas and ideals. Additionally, fantasy is just fun to read. If I may be allowed a further quote in such a quote-heavy paragraph, I'll quote Neil Gaiman paraphrasing G.K. Chesterton (why not?): "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."

"One final thought--I also have to agree with Alexis. Writing is an out-pouring of your soul. I beg thee to allow me a final quote, a sort of paraphrase of a variety of quotes, more of a saying: "There's nothing to writing. You simply open up a vein and bleed." I've noted that it's a grand endeavor to write a book. When you really write--when you open up that proverbial vein and bleed onto your computer screen--you put a piece of your soul, perhaps even a piece you don't understand, onto the pages of your writing. And so by writing, you are given an opportunity to understand yourself better, by looking at your work and seeing it reflect the deepest parts of you; and to leave your mark on this world forever. That reflection of you in your work will live on as long as your words are read. You have the opportunity to connect on an unspeakably deep level through the written word--soul to soul, if you will. And that is both exciting and completely terrifying.

I apologize for the lengthiness of this response--sometimes I just can't help myself. ;)

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