“I write because…” seems a daunting way to begin a blog post. It’s too definitive and I’ve always been more reflective – skipping between thoughts or compulsions. Trying to pin down something specific often makes it disappear, so I tend to sneak up on the idea I want to capture. Confronting it head-on rarely works.
Often I get caught up in context. The lead-up to why I’m pouring myself onto the page often comes at the expense of the event itself. Sometimes I run out of energy before I get to the punchline. What I do know is that I have always had the urge to write, and that I can express myself more clearly in writing than in speech.
‘I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.’ Flannery O’Connor
If I look back through my poetry, short stories, personal essays and non-fiction, the common thread is that each piece attempts to capture a moment in time. Passion, anger, illumination and confusion are repeating themes, along with flashes of revelation or self-understanding. That well-known Flannery O’Connor quote “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” makes me laugh with recognition. Reading back through old journal entries I am still surprised by some of the thoughts which were captured through free associative writing with a set time limit of thirty minutes. That’s just long enough to lose myself in the flow of ideas from brain, through my arm and hand, to the pen on the page. The rhythm of the action takes over and the inner critic falls asleep. The buzzer to stop writing always seems to happen just at the point where I have written down something I never consciously knew.
I write to explore too – What am I feeling? How did this eventuate? How do our world views differ? Psychology, history, philosophy and politics slip in from time to time as well. In many ways I am no different to other writers in that I want to understand the world around me and the relationships within it. Non-fiction and poetry are my two natural genres. My attempts at fiction are thinly disguised autobiography. Not because I want to share my life story. but more because I am trying to find truth in a sea of ambiguity.
So, perhaps I write because I want to understand who I am and how I came to be like this.