28 March 2006

The writing life

At some stage someone asks you, "How long have you been writing?" or "Why do you write?"

These two questions never fail to make be feel inadequate. Answer to the first question, seriously, for two and a bit years. I tried a number of times in my life and always gave it up. I'm not one of those writers who's always written and feel bereft and half a person if they can't write. Instead I was (and am) one of those writers who wants the words to flow perfectly from my fingers onto the page. For a long time I thought if I couldn't achieve that, I wasn't a writer.

So I lived in my fantasies. Elaborate alternate lives that were a solace from my own. I'm not sure why I decided I had to write. Maybe something about getting older and feeling a whole part of me had never been expressed.

That partially explains the second question, why do I write. Again I'm not the kind of writer who responds with, "But I have to. I have no choice!" It was more a conscious decision to peel off the layers of my self and get to some elemental core that was struggling for expression. A type of therapy I think.

It's developed since then, thankfully. Ones therapeutic ramblings don't make for interesting reading. But I can't imagine not writing now. Even when I'm stuck, I constantly think about it. It's become essential to me but often not very easy.

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