Why do I write? That may seem like an odd question to ask, but I think the answer can make a big difference.
I got the idea to ask that question after having dinner with a young author. Her book is due out in the next few months. She bubbled over with excitement about her characters and the different stories she is working on. Her body oozed creativity. She continued to apologize for talking my ear off, but I loved listening to her. She stirred feelings inside of me I seemed to have buried.
Over the next few days, I thought back to the time when I was the person oozing creativity. My characters once spun their stories in my head no matter where I was. I was so involved in watching the story unfold in my head that I didn’t realize I had stopped following my husband and proceeded to follow another man right out of the grocery store. To be fair, I wasn’t really looking at the man. I was looking down and following a pair of sneakers. Don’t most men’s sneakers look the same? Anyway, I followed the sneakers out of the store and right to his car. I got in the passenger side of the car and looked over at a stranger.
“Oh, you’re not my husband!”
“No, ma’am, I am not,” he said calmly.
I quickly exited the vehicle and looked down the aisle of cars. My husband was about ten cars away, standing there shaking his head.
Where did that obsessed writer go? I think life happened. Jobs demanded more of my time. I felt I should clean my house more. People always needed to eat. My characters suffered the fate of Puff the Magic Dragon.
Let’s consider poor Puff for a moment. Puff from the song “Puff the Magic Dragon” is an imaginary dragon dreamed up by a child named Jackie Paper. Puff fades away as Jackie grows up. I always found the song heart wrenching. The words “One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more, and Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar,” put a lump in my throat. To me, it speaks of the loss of the wonderful imagination found in children because of their zest for adventure.
Again the question, why do I write? The answer can be different for each author. One of my favorite authors, Lilian Jackson Braun, once told a reporter that she loved to get up in the morning, sit in front of her typewriter and see where her imagination would take her. When I read that, I knew I wanted to write. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my days. The thought of it brought back the excitement of childhood and the joy of waking up every morning to a day filled with possibilities. From my neighborhood, one friend is a playwright, another is a stand-up comic, and another is an artist. We grew up feeding each other’s creativity. It was how we lived. It is how I want to live.
My answer to the question is that I write because it touches the core of who I am. I don’t want to let Puff fade away. I realize I need to make some changes. I’ll keep you posted.