Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why I Write...

This is an essay I wrote for my Creative Non-Fiction class.

I write because I feel I have something to say. As a white, middle-class, American male, I feel I get lumped in with the white, middle-class, American male stereotype. Yes, there are worse stereotypes, but I don't like getting categorized like that. One of my best friends, Pepe Robles, a native of Huacho, Peru, accused me, in the best way, of having an “envase gringo, contenido peruano.” Roughly translated, this means a gringo container, Peruvian contents. That's a label I wear with pride. I write to show that all is not as it appears on the outside.

I write because paper is a shield that allows me to strip away the armor that I use to protect and hide my true self. I can bare my soul and let myself be vulnerable because when it's on paper, I can distance myself from it.

I write because writing allows me to be paradoxical.


I write because I don't like confrontation. Every day I see people commit acts of sheer stupidity. Rather than be outspoken about said stupidities, I take the passive-aggressive route and write about it.


I write because there is no “backspace,” no eraser for the things that come out of my mouth.


I write because it's therapeutic.


I write to find my truth.


I write to figure myself out. I'm 33 now. For the first 25 years or so of my life I tried to be the person I thought my parents, siblings and friends wanted me to be. I finally figured out that living that way was too stressful and that I wanted to be who I wanted to be. Writing helps me feel my way down the pitch-black hallway of self-discovery. Writing shines a flashlight on the cancerous traits I want to surgically remove and on the atrophied attributes I want to exercise and develop.


I write because I enjoy putting an actual pen to actual paper.


I write because I enjoy writing.


I write because if I don't write down these thoughts running through my head I will forget them. And, to be honest, and maybe just a tad egotistical, some of these thoughts are just too cool to be forgotten.


I write because somebody has to, and nobody else is going to tell my stories.

3 comments:

refugee from reason said...

"I write because paper is a shield that allows me to strip away the armor that I use to protect and hide my true self..." There'll come a time, my blogging friend, as you grow older, when you feel that your tongue will break off if you don't say what you really feel...and you'll wear your, what some might call, "lack of tact" as a badge of honor.

"Every day I see people commit acts of sheer stupidity. Rather than be outspoken about said stupidities, I take the passive-aggressive route and write about it." Boy, you're telling me. My Dad, a great writer, used to toss it off simply as "People are stupid." However, I don't believe that writing is "passive-aggressive," especially when your work becomes public.

"... no eraser for the things that come out of my mouth." Boy, you're telling me. That's a great line.

"For the first 25 years or so of my life I tried to be the person I thought my parents, siblings and friends wanted me to be." I don't think you're unique in this, a little, perhaps, but not unique. And, you seem as if you've overcome it well.

"I write because I enjoy putting an actual pen to actual paper." If you don't actually use a pen or pencil, try it. I do all the time and carry a Moleskine notebook with me at all times. I must have 30 "paper" ones filled, as well as at least a half dozen "leather" bound (never been sure if it's real leather).

An absolute:
"I write because somebody has to, and nobody else is going to tell my stories."

"And, to be honest, and maybe just a tad egotistical, some of these thoughts are just too cool to be forgotten." Not egotistical at all, just true.

Great post on writing.

Adam said...

Thanks for the comments. I've discovered that I have something of a mental block when it comes to writing a story directly on the keyboard.

I write a lot easier and more naturally when I can scribble it physically first. Then the typing becomes the first revision.

I may revisit this essay in the future and flesh it out even more. It was very revelatory to write.

refugee from reason said...

You're lucky, it's tough for me to write with a pen for any length of time, slightly arthritic thumbs. However, I do go through a rather odd editing process: Printing out what I've typed ("keyboarded," I suppose in today's vernacular), then editing it by hand and retyping ("rekeyboarding"). For the record, I still have two upright manual typewriters in my office: a Royal and a Remington, both of which I used when I worked for newspapers. And, yes, I "stole" 'em when I left.

To give you an idea of how long ago that was, no one had terminals in my paper, save the typesetters and only then when we made the switch to "cold type."

But I love the sound of typewriters and teletype machines.

Write everyday...it'll be come less of a chore.