Friday, August 21, 2009

Why we write

I think I was sixteen when I went to Paris for the very first time. Somewhere around Montmartre, I found a postcard that touched a chord inside me, so I bought it and took it home. It's on my tiny desk as I write and I still wonder that this little piece of yellowed cardboard has survived my several moves and all these years, but even more astonishing is that chord inside me. It still hums whenever I look at it.

Translated, it says, "When asked "Why do you write?", the answer of the poet will always be the shortest: To have a better life."*

That's just what I feel. That's why I write.

When I write, I feel my soul expand. I travel away in time and space, disappear into another world, and when I appear again, sometimes, it feels as if I had been away for a trip over the weekend. It gives me a satisfaction I find nowhere else. When life gets hectic, and I don't get to write for a longer period of time, I feel that need building up inside me, that craving to get back to my keyboard or notebook, to get a pen in hand, to shut off the world, and to unburden myself, to free my soul. It's a solitude I need to replenish my inner being.

Yes, of course there are times when I have to drag myself to my desk. There are times when rejections hit me, when life gets in the way, and when this precious feeling gets lost. But I know it will come back eventually. Because I'm a writer, no matter what. Someone once said to me, "If you're a writer, writing is not an option. It's a necessity." That's it in a nutshell.

Now I wonder. Do you feel like that too?

*I have to mention that my postcard says it's a quote by St. John Peoje (who I'd never heard of and who doesn't even appear when googled).


Jane Myers Perrine said...

Just this morning, I sat down to write for a few minutes and felt as if I were returning to friends. Thanks for sharing this with us.


Sandy Cody said...

What a lovely post, Beate! I've never consciously felt my soul expand when I write, but when I read the words, I immediately identified with the feeling. I've always said I write to make sense of things that otherwise seem too complicated for human understanding. Could it be that understanding and soul expansion are really the same thing?

Elisabeth Rose said...

Exploring those wide ranging emotions in our characters must push us as writers to expand our consciousness. We experience things vicariously--and safely. :)
I think it's soul expanding. And for our readers too.

Beate Boeker said...

Sandy, yes, that's what I mean by soul expanding - writing is a way to deal with things we can't manage otherwise - it frees us, and yes, it's a safe way of exploring new worlds, Lis. I'm so glad you know that feeling.

Thank you for your comments!

Janet Kay Gallagher said...

My Parents both loved reading books from the library. It had high celings with marble floors and columns. Always hushed, a whisper carried.I picked up the feeling early in life that, "If it was written down it was sacred." And have written notesbooks, loose pages, etc., always have a problem throwing anything like that out.

Beate Boeker said...

. . . that library sounds magnificent, Janet Kay! Thank you for sharing.