Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why Write?

Why on earth, when there are so many easier things to do, would I want to write? Why, when there are so many talented writers who remain unpublished, and so much rubbish that does get published? Why, when it seems no one has time for books anymore, what with their television schedule and their cell phones and their text messaging...? Why, when it is so damn much work to write a novel, and so heartbreaking when no one will even look at it? Why, when I'm sure I could find something else I would enjoy doing?

The truth is, I don't really know.

What I do know is that things get unbalanced pretty quickly if I'm not writing. It doesn't need to be a novel, or anything for public consumption...journaling will fill the need. But that need has existed since I was ten years old and first started writing poetry. Or maybe since I was four years old and first started making up stories about my imaginary friends.

It's not about approval...if it was, I would have made more of an effort to get published...or given up long ago. It's not about money...I've made nothing from my writing so far, and the writer who can actually make a living writing fiction is a rare beast indeed. It's not about prestige...If I ever do publish, it will be under a pen name so that no one can ever find me. It's not about immortality and leaving something behind for future generations...because one of my greatest dreads is the family gathering round after my death, reading my journals, and muttering uncomfortably to each other, Geez, Grandma sure was a twisted bitch, wasn't she? (I need to invest in a self-destructing file cabinet that is tied in to some sort of biomonitor...and the moment my brain ceases to function, *poof*, up in smoke.)

So what is it about, then?

I think it's about needing to write about my experiences in order to validate them. It's about knowing that storytelling is the one thing that I've always wanted to do, right from my earliest memories.

And it's about knowing right down to the bottom of my soul that no matter how hard it is, no matter how useless it seems, no matter how much I'd rather be doing something else sometimes, it just plain hurts too much not to write.

17 comments:

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Jazz,
Another thought-provoking post. I write because I express my feelings better in writing than in person. I write to learn. I write to understand life. I write because there's nothing I do that gives me greater pleasure. I write because I have thoughts inside that need to come out. I write to engage with people. I write because I can imagine not writing!

Susan

Jazz said...

Susan--
Yes..all of those reasons, and more...it's something I need in my life. I can always tell when I'm not being true to myself, because those are the times the journal writing dries up.

Gianna said...

I find my voice when I write. I find my power. I shock myself with what I write sometimes...I don't even know it's in there until it comes out...

I have to say I like the readership too. Though that's not what got me started.

I threw away all my early journals for exactly the reason you said---I was terrified someone would find them if I died. My earliest poetry was tragically lost...I would never have thrown that away...I loved it...but my journals truly were twisted...I wrote compulsively about unrequited love in incredibly pathetic fashion...I held onto them for about 10 years but looking at them made me cringe...just at the thought of anyone reading them...

anyway....I wouldn't throw away anything now...it's all articulate even if slightly twisted...the idea of someone reading anything I've written now doesn't bother me...i'm glad those early journals are gone though.

stan said...

Dearest Jazz:

Thanks for stopping by my meager blog for a check out (good think you weren’t checking out my --- {laughing})or I would have to contact your chief of security {smirk}. Being an ex actor and screenplay writer I know how hard it is to open that first locked and pad locked guarded fortress with your wears. I’m just thankful I was healthy enough to follow that journey and path in my life( over and over again I pound with my handy hammer into my brain that it’s always about the journey! So please enjoy the ride no matter how bumpy it may seem or feel).

I write now because it’s a passion, cathartic, brings me immense joy, and once in a while some crazed bipolar reads my blog like you, and gets something of a nugget from those spewed words I bleed upon this screen and page.

I can only say is you must continue due diligence, and just keep sending out your manuscript or scripts to every publisher on the planet. I know it’s not exactly a pat on the back, and one of those heaven on earth feel good moments every time you receive a rejection letter in the mail (if they are even polite enough to do that {smirk}).

Besides that personal expression of self has a special healing power as those words and experiences filter through our slightly twisted minds, and is seldom if ever fruitless in its efforts. Writers just write! It’s like a painter painting, and a vocalist singing, or a plumber unplugging your toilet.

I just got back online after a huge move and I am starting a new job Monday. But I will get back to read further into your work and posting. You appear to have your own unique and fervent style of talented writing that is elegant and a delight to read. “I’ll be back” as our California distinguished Governornator says.

Of course you know if you had some special connections with the CIA genetically altered penguins, the Mother ship, and your secret bipolar decoder mood ring; this arduous process could be a lot easier { laughing}.

I hope to hear from you soon, and wish you all the good tidings that can come your way.

Yours truly
Stan

Jazz said...

Hey, Stan, thanks for the encouragement...and the compliment!

Unfortunately, my secret bipolar decoder mood ring was confiscated the last time the CIA penguins had me up against the wall. I'm currently munching my way through endless boxes of coco puffs and fruit loops, in the vain hope of finding another one at the bottom of the box...

Have a great day, Stan!

Jazz said...

Gianna--
I find my voice when I write. I find my power. I shock myself with what I write sometimes...I don't even know it's in there until it comes out...

Oh, so true!

I still have all those early journals, and oh, they are painful to read...but I wouldn't part with them for the world. Sometimes I just wish I could go back in time and put my arms around that bewildered fourteen year old and tell her that she will find her way eventually.

I've gotten a lot better about the worrying about people reading them...so much of it doesn't matter now. I mean, every journal entry is just a snapshot of what things looked like at that moment. But I must admit, I do keep an electronic journal now, too, and I feel that I can be little more free in there.

Shiv said...

Hmm, I write to let it out. I can write about things that I can't talk about comfortably and I can certainly put it into better words! Also people with mental health issues tend to be more creative (read that someone, don't quote me I can't swear to it's truth :P), and that creativity needs an outlet or it just messes up our minds even more!

Btw your comment about the CIA penguins made me burst out laughing! Not the best thing when I'm sneaking sly looks at blogs at work! :P

~Shiv

Jazz said...

Glad to make you smile, Shiv. Been a bit worried about you. Your post the other day was so sad...

Shiv said...

Aw, thanks for caring hun :)
My mood has been swinging crazy fast recently and I'm not sure why. Sometimes I swear I get PMS!

But yeah, I went from down, to really high, to rock bottom, and seem to have ended up on randier-than-an-schoolboy-at-an-all-women-topless-beach-volleyball-tournament, lol.

Sometimes I wonder if I should actually be taking the meds I've been picking up from the pharmacy...

~Shiv

Jazz said...

Shiv--
Do you have a bipolar dx, or is it depression?

You could certainly give the meds a try, with the option to stop them if you don't like the results. I may come across anti-meds, but that's really only just for me. We are all different, and we all respond differently to medications. Some people find them to be a godsend. And some of us just can't tolerate them. Just learn all you can about them before swallowing them, okay?

Shiv said...

My doctor spent all of ten minutes with me before diagnosing me with severe major depressive disorder. Probably the most time he's bothered to spend in a room with me in one go actually.
The counsellor i was seeing after that tried to refer me to a psychiatrist but it had to go through my doctor and he refused. Apparently he felt he knew my situation and what i needed better in that ten minutes that the woman i'd spent months talking to.
I never did find out what her thoughts about my head were tho.

I was on SSRIs but to be honest I just didn't feel they were doing me any good so i stopped. I dunno, maybe they would have balanced me a little. It's hard to tell tho because i can have good relatively balanced periods in between the sharp swings so...

~Shiv

Jazz said...

My doctor spent all of ten minutes with me before diagnosing me...

This is one of the things that makes me crazy...er...crazier. I was diagnosed on my first (half hour) visit to the psychiatrist. There were no questions about what my life looked like at that time, nothing about stressors or anything like that, nothing about lifestyle (like how much caffeine and alcohol I was consuming at the time). Just filling out some questionnaires, a brief discussion, and I left with three different prescriptions.

Anyway, hugs to you, and I hope things even out soon. Being all over the map emotionally is horrible, I know.

Love,
Jazz

Jazz said...

Oh, and as to your comment above about creativity needing an outlet or it messes with our minds...I seem to remember reading somewhere that thwarted creativity turns into psychic poison, or something to that effect. Sometimes I wonder if that's what was wrong with me all through college and graduate school, when I was concentrating on earning an engineering degree, but yearning to write and not having the time to do so.

bipolarjourney.com said...

I was thinking of this very thing on my way to work this morning. Like you,I just can't imagine not.

Jazz said...

Yes, somehow it becomes a lot more than something you do...it becomes part of what you are...

Chris said...

Wonderfully articulated. I question my motives a lot, but I can't resist them. I need to write. It is my compulsion.

Jazz said...

Compulsion is right! Sometimes to the exclusion of all else.