Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Why I Write


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

Yes, it's another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group! I love this month's question - it goes to the heart of these times. Here it is:

November 4 question - Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

As my writing is varied (plays, novels, poems, essays) one might think my purposes might be as well. Nope. I write to wake myself up and perhaps to wake others up in the reading of it. It isn't that I think my waking up is crucial to the saving of the world, but I do believe that it is imperative that we all become aware of the water we swim in. So...I believe that both Camus and O'Conner answer this question as I might. The last big writing I did was my novel Crooked Knife - now looking for a home. I wrote it because I was enraged and broken-hearted about a certain situation. Writing gave me a place to try and understand my thinking and feeling about that situation.  My hope is that others reading it will be both entertained by the story and have a new understanding of a community that is little valued. 

 I write poetry to discover what I might be thinking and feeling about very big questions - the core of my belief system, my values, my sense of beauty and the raw energy of the world. I'd say it all comes from the same place but the poetry is another layer. Another prismatic view of my world.

I write for the same reason I read. To wake up.

Hope when you are reading this that your community - where ever that may be is functioning and that people are acting peacefully. I am very aware of the division in the USA and how frightening and painful that must be for my American friends. I pray that whatever outcomes occur that kindness be the first virtue embraced.


Margot Kinberg said...

I love that way of putting it, Jan - to wake up. I hadn't thought about it that way, but it makes sense. When I write, I wake parts of myself up, and I hope I get readers to think, too, even though my work isn't specifically intended to further an agenda. Hmm.....I'll have to think about this, as it's a really interesting question!

Liza said...

A yes, kindness. I pray that kindness prevails, in whatever way it takes shape. You are right. This is a stressful day and I am breathing deep. I write because it is a way to get to the truth of me, I think. But fiction and poems are different for me. Poems are always raw emotion. I can't even write them if that doesn't exist. Fiction is more of a long dig, to get down to the heart of something I'm trying to make as real as I can.

Hope you are doing well, Jan and I hope for good news on Crooked Knife.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Aware of the water we swim in. That could be a political slogan.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love the way you put it! And thanks for the prayers for the US.