I Write, Therefore I Am

October 3, 2014 at 7:43 pm | Posted in Australia, Making History, Psychology, Writing, Writing and Life | 10 Comments
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Life is better when you're writing

On a recent Saturday at my writing group, I led a brain-storming session on why we write. It was a wonderful and animated exercise. After the session, we wrote a piece about how we would feel if we were suddenly unable to write.

Erasmus writing quote

Just this morning, I read an article by a very successful author, Warren Adler about what to do after constant rejections. In the end, Adler says, it comes down to three options. You can:

  1. Give up;
  2. Wait to acquire the requisite life experience; or
  3. Never, never, ever give up.

I am neither determined nor passionate enough about achieving success as a writer that I would keep trying to get traditionally published. I don’t have the killer instinct. And besides, I don’t have that much confidence in my ability as a writer, or enough hope that anyone will want what I write.

My nephew, Peter Abela, has much more drive and commitment, and is more likely to be recognised; I hope he will be. But I have no hope or expectation of a future where I will be recognised in that way.

Write for yourself first

So, why do I keep writing? Because I have to, I think.

Because putting my thoughts and my life on paper or into the computer is a sort of validation of myself, of my existence in this world. Because I want to tell stories about what the world was like when I was young, when my parents were young. Because if I don’t write, I am not. If I don’t leave a record, I do not and never will have existed.

I suppose it is part of the reason that we have graffiti everywhere – tags of varying quality and artistry sprayed on fences and buildings and anywhere else that is accessible. These people are also saying, ‘I am here! I exist, even if you don’t see me!’

Write emotions you fear most

Someone might say, ‘What of your children, your grandchildren? Surely they are proof that you are, that you were?’

Genetically, yes. They would not be if I hadn’t been. In whatever influence I have had on them, yes. They will take a little of me into the future.

But me as an individual, a person with her own loves and hates, talents and weaknesses, wisdom and foolishness – where is the evidence for that me if I do not leave a record?

Then they will ask, ‘What about people’s memories of you?’ And I will ask how long will those memories remain, and the answer will be, only until those who have known me have gone.

Write

So why is that not enough; that people remember me until there is no memory left of me? That is all 99.99% of the world can expect. What mark have I made on the world that I should be different? And I must answer, honestly, none. I don’t even have the talent or the passion to make that mark.

Why do we have such self awareness if we are expected to negate it in the ocean of humanity, in the survival of a species that proves every day that it doesn’t deserve to survive?

Why can’t that little drop that is/was me have its own memorial to say that I was not a part of that destructiveness, that I fought against it in action and in my writing?

The narcissist in me wants it. The realist knows that I do not merit it. And my writing will not make it so. But I will still keep writing.

 Write to please oneself

(c)  Linda Visman

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10 Comments »

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  1. Great entry Linda. Thanks for sharing this. Vicki

  2. Love the quote about writing for yourself and having no public rather than writing for public and having no self!

  3. Among the many things I have learned writing and playing music – never assume people won’t like what you wrote, or how you play someone else’s music. And, never asume that they will! Do it because it satifies you own creative need. Can’t go wrong there.

  4. Well said, mon Ami! We write because we must and those of us that do are putting down a verbal time capsule for those that come after. Whether or not those we love will read or even appreciate our endeavours, and passion, others will. It reminds me of a time recently when I found someone’s journal led photo album dated 1890. It was in a second hand shop which was sad as those who ‘should’ have been interested weren’t. However, someone will recognise the value in the history of the album and who knows what doors it may open. I spent a wonderful half hour enjoying what had been documented as well as looking at the photos. I felt enriched.

  5. I love that idea of a verbal time capsule Linda. 🙂 That 120-y-o journal-photo album was at least there for someone to look at, hey? So, let’s hope that someone in the future is as interested in looking at our words as you were. But, as you say, it is sad that it was all lost to the family of the writer.
    Merci bien, ma chere amie, for reading and commenting. I appreciate your support very much. 🙂

  6. Wonderful post, Linda 🙂

    • Thank you Margaret. There are other reasons I write, but that one came to the fore when I began to write the post. 🙂


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