My time of unemployment has gone from being productive, to freeing time up for more writing, to not actually doing much writing, to slowly rolling down the hill toward a pit of depression and laziness. I’m lacking the push to write, probably because wallowing at home doesn’t give you much to go with.
Anyway, Jen Brubacher of the blog scribo ergo sum tagged me in a meme that asks one scary question: why do I write?
I thought an attempt to answer the question might be the rope I need to fling up high, find ground, and drag me back out of this well.
Perhaps writing is a bit for the ego, wanting to produce something for people to read, perhaps it’s just fun, perhaps I do it because it’s cheaper than trying to make blockbuster movies, perhaps it’s a bit of all of those and something else, a bit of a challenge.
See, the other side of me that most people know is that my life is incredibly political. I’d argue that it might be the more important part of me. And it bleeds into my writing and informs the things I feature in my stories and poetry, but creative writing is a very inefficient way of arguing politics.
It can’t replace going to a protest, just writing a damn article or making a straight-up argument. That seems to be more important to me to convincing people of the need and way to change the world.
But I think writing and literature can do something else. It adds another layer that the obvious can’t.
I like to explore the world in more detail, and lately since becoming more into poetry, it is the search for the right image, right metaphor, right analogy that makes writing a challenging pursuit. I’m trying to find ways to express myself and understand the world that adds something to my whole conception of how the world works. It colours my arguments and adds weight to it, perhaps in ways that most people can’t see.
For me, writing isn’t so much about convincing people of a point of view, but perhaps adding conviction or cementing ideas or feelings already held. I think good writing hits you because it relates to things you already know, even if it can sometimes tell you something new.
So I write to explore things further. If I see something, experience something, hear of something, that inspires me, or saddens me, or pisses me off (ok, usually pisses me off), I want to write about it to explain why, sometimes only to explain to myself why I feel like that.
I think the problem I’m having at the moment is there’s nothing coming into my head that I need to process through writing. Work often threw at me something like that, or if it wasn’t work, there’s something going on in the world or the news that I want to write about. Without those, sometimes it’s culture that inspires me. I’ve got none of that at the moment.
Perhaps I need to go searching.