Saturday, November 21, 2009

Why do you write daddy?

     “Why do you write Daddy?” asked my five year old. My answer did not soon follow as a simple “I dunno” was all I could conjure to stay his questions from reproducing, interrupting my current blog entry. I write in my office at home which I have set up conveniently on the main floor of our home so I can still see and hear my family should I choose, or I can isolate a bit more if necessary by closing the door and turning on some music to stifle the family acoustics.

     I love writing, I love painting with words, and I love creating visual symphonies that others may hum in their heads. I still was looking for an answer to the question asked of me. “Why do I write”? Many reasons I guess. I know for one that I have always had what some may consider a “knack” more so than a “gift”, but I would say that I have been blessed with a “gift” of being able to connect with people, and the “knack” of using text to achieve this.

     As I have pondered this over the past couple days, I figured that when engaging in an endeavor that does require a bit of time and thought of us, we should at least discover “why” we do something even if the reason is “because it is there”, “it is fun”, but “I dunno” was not going to be good enough for my five year old, nor to an aspiring author/writer whose dream would be to share thoughts on paper to the masses. I at least wanted to find the purpose, principle, or passion that drives me to do what I used to avoid at all costs when I was being graded on it; and now if I can get a blog follower, I feel like I hit the lotto.

     I know that upon “shoo-ing” away my son from disturbing me while clicking on my keys I found one of my reasons. I write to confront my hypocrisy. I write a lot of pieces on an inspirational tone, but I also write about enjoying the blessings found in abundance around us. I write of taking the time to absorb the spiritual resources that make us human and make us whole. If I am disconnecting from my loved ones to write words telling others to love and enjoy their family and to be great role models to their children, I may not be practicing what I preach. I had written once that one of my greatest fears is not the inability to practice what I preach, but the inability to become aware when I am not doing so. Writing allows me to maintain an awareness I never used to be able to enjoy by having me toss the pieces of life’s puzzle on the table in front of me, feeling and observing each piece as I put the puzzle back together. I get to enjoy the sum of the parts while creating the beauty of the whole. If I am aware enough to write on my shortcomings, I am able to work on them. I therefore reduce myself from being a “hypocrite” to a “work in progress”.

     As Stephen King had written about once, he mentioned writing being a form of “telepathy”. I concur as through a structured sequence of clicks on a plastic board, or simple wiggles of a pen tip, I can take a thought from my mind, real or imagined, and send it across time, space, and endless stops along the way, to find my words in the minds of complete strangers. I can think, type, and send my thoughts to friends, loved ones, and random strangers and convey a cornucopia of thoughts and emotions to move, bond, and create fellowship to all who receive. I love being able to use words to come inside someone’s personal space, and perhaps help them “clean out their closet” and deal with a difficult subject or lend support. I can share what my personal space I am in right this moment looks like to another a world away. I can make people smile who are not in my presence, cry tears of joy, or nod in agreement. I used to think writing made me isolate. I realize I can become global and eternally available to the world for generations to come.

     I love also sharing the human experience in writing. I have found that in crisis, loss, or turmoil, people often feel alone in their circumstances. We can often feel that no one cares, understands, “gets us”, and that we are unique in our pain. Through words and writing, I love that I can either by a lengthy blog, or most often a simple social networking post toss a few typed characters out to where I can let people know, “I am there for ya”, “Got your back”, I know how ya feel”, Love you”, “wish you well”, “sorry to hear of your loss”, and many other sentiments where perhaps a call or card would not fit the bill or be appropriate. I can use simple sentiments to extend that “I too share your burden”, and you do not suffer as one. We can use printed language to extend a hand to a fallen friend. Writing lets me be where I often cannot reach.

     Spoken language does not have the luxury of a backspace or delete button. We cannot “unsay” things. However, when I am able to sit and reflect, I can choose my words as if I were creating a floral arrangement to present to a friend. I can choose the color, position, and uniqueness of the bouquet of words best fitting for the recipients. I can pause without discomfort. I can think through a thought to make sure it is balanced if necessary or fractured to reflect the nature of the circumstances. I can creatively take these “legos” we call words and build something knowing that I can pull off the small red piece and in its’ place put a medium sized blue one. I can do it because I am writing, not speaking. If I spoke how I write, I would possibly sound like a scratched CD with stutters and misses as I tried to lock onto the proper flow of thought to create the best lyrics for the song. I wish we had a backspace and more so a delete button. Since I am dreaming, a mute button would come in handy from time to time as well.

     What I also like about writing is that it becomes a gift to those who read your words. They can take your simple written print, and escape not only in the location they choose to absorb it, but also by using the creative space in their mind that becomes the ambient accompaniment to the story. Not only does the script transfer and transform where the reader is at the moment, they shut off the current world to enter yours or where you wish to take them, but they can also add subtle nuances to the story or message through the decoration added by their own creative interpretation. “How green was the meadow?” “How passionate was the kiss?” What level of inspiration will I be able to achieve in the reader? Tears? Perhaps a smile? Disagreement? Once our words are released, we empower the reader to do with them what they will, and it is our duty to try to plot the course as vividly as possible to allow the reader to navigate the same path. Although we share the journey, what we see along the way is special and unique.

     Why do I write? I dunno. I do know that all the above is often factored somewhere in the mix. I like being my own mental travel agent taking myself to different places at will. I like having enough room for others on these journeys as well. I love leaving little pre-packaged personal servings of dialogue available for others to sample when they are hungry to get away or for the companionship of a friend. Sometimes I feel it is perhaps God speaking through me; or to me. Maybe there is something I am supposed to get out that if left inside will die never to return. I do know that right now as I am alone in my office I am extending a hand to many people to grasp around the world to where for a few moments we can sit together and enjoy our gift of literacy, and enjoy a place different from where we now are, and allow our minds to dance momentarily to the same tune. Why do I write? I guess simply to share. What better a message to send my son? Share!


plainolebob said...

Man Tony I am the same way, well almost.

Bruce Coltin said...

I love the way you've broken down the thought process. And, I appreciate that you took the time to engage in the self-examination.

Plenty of others would have settled for their own: "I dunno."

You should go the Coffee Shop, if you haven't already, and invite others to come read it. I would enjoy participating in the discussion.

Paula said...

I agree with Bruce. You are a bearer of letters, a conductor of sentences and the synphonies of your life.

Jeff Chandler said...

This is such a beautiful post and one with which I can completely relate (minus the little lovelies). The power of writing is incredible and it is a gift to read something like your blog. Thank you for the inspiration.