Why Are You a Writer?

cave art La_Pasiega-Galeria_A-Ciervas_(panel_22)
Cave art from La Pasiega, in Cantabria, Spain; Author: Hugo Obermaier, 1913. This work is in the public domain.

 

The human effort to leave a record may be seen in cave art dating back 40,000 years.  What prompted these impulses?  Were early humans teaching a lesson?  Leaving a message?  Were they expressing devotion to a deity or satisfying an inchoate desire for self-fulfillment?  Unknowable as the answers to these questions are, so too, for many of us, is the answer to the question, “Why are you a writer?”

Writing is certainly not the most dependable way to earn money.  And it is a career that carries with it the risk of severe, personal criticism.  So, why write?

I have been writing since I was a child.  For me, writing is a way to communicate.  There are other paths to communication–music, art and dance, for example.  Sadly these avenues are not open to me.  Though I express myself with joy through many art forms, I don’t communicate well through them.  They remain my private pleasures.  Words, however, are malleable in my hands.  I mold them, sometimes nimbly, until they convey my intentions in a way that others can understand.  That’s communication.  That’s why I write.

Was I born a writer?  There’s a school of thought that holds some people are born artists and some are not.  I’ve never subscribed to this view.  Give children crayons and they color.  Read nursery rhymes to them and they respond to the cadence of words.  Creativity and art, I believe, are intrinsic to human nature.  Talents vary, as do life influences and opportunity.  The role each of these played in my choice to write–that is impossible to sort out.

I’m a writer.  I’m comfortable in the role and believe I understand the reasons for my choice.

Why are you a writer?

 

 

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