Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why writers write.

When I read author Felicia Sullivan's post yesterday, it moved me.

Here is the link.

She is an incredible writer and I cannot wait to read her critically acclaimed memoir.

We met last year. Felicia was visiting Italy and our friend Kara suggested we meet.

The following really jumped out at me;

Somerset Maugham once said, “The only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty that men create out of chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all of these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.”


So, this is our work, fellow writers, and the start of our very auspicious journey: to mine for beauty within ourselves and in the world in which we live, to bring this beauty out of dark and into the light. To find our voice and speak it, shout it from moving cars, fire escapes, and rooftops. To find our story and share it, because words have this magnetic ability to bind us to one another, because regardless of where we live, the color of our skin, or how many zeros are in our checking account, every human being profoundly understands hurt, loss, joy, and love. And our words are connectors – they’re able to unite, even when it feels like everything else is falling apart.



Because being a writer isn’t about fancy book parties, handsome hardcovers sitting prominent on bookstore shelves, or the accolades of our peers – don’t get me wrong, these are all very nice things, but they’re merely things; a published book is an ornament, not a checkmark of achievement or a validation of your character. They don’t make us a man, nor a woman, and more importantly, and they don’t make us a committed writer. A writer isn’t someone who publishes a book; a writer is someone who writes, constantly, obsessively, and passionately. A writer seeks to communicate without interruption, bound on a constant, tireless search for truth – he or she looks deep within him or herself, then peers out into the world and tries to make sense of and between the two. In short, the journey of an artist is to show the reader where you are and where you’re going.

What I'm working on is entertainment. But even within my (hopefully) commercial wedding movie I had something to say. Movies are different from novels. They have to be exterior not interior and it's a director's medium. My script is a blue print for the house.

There are days I struggle with the whole "am I really a writer" thing. I know it's because I have yet to make a living from it. Reading Felicia's post was very helpful. I'm a writer because I have to write. There's something compelling me to create my characters and their worlds.

So why do you write?

17 comments:

erin :: the olive notes said...

her description is beautiful and inspiring

Kim B. said...

Thanks for sharing her VERY powerful post. It sounds like writing literally saved her life.

Thanks for bringing her heartfelt and exquisitely articulate reflections to our attention. It really gives us something to think about.

I'm just in awe.

Valerie said...

Beautiful. Thanks for the reminders. I, too, struggle with the doubts and fears of being a writer. I think it's inherent with the vocation.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

erin - I agree. She is a very talented writer.

kimb - you're welcome. I noticed her book is being sold by Amazon UK and Amazon FR. I have to get it.

valerie - It is a strange vocation, isn't it? I mean everyone writes...emails, blog posts, letters (back in the day) so to say it's something one does for a living, sometimes sounds strange to me.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Because I have to.

And that's what I tell my students - if you don't HAVE to write, find something else to do. You can enjoy writing, but don't plan on "being a writer" unless you must, under any and all circumstances, write.

michelle | bleeding espresso said...

This whole post is just beautiful. And yes, like you and Jen, I write because I have to. Aren't we blessed?!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jen - so true.

michelle - blessed? ha.

Deidre said...

This is something I struggle with also. particularly, because there is no clear cut path to "becoming a writer" its not like being a doctor or lawyer where you go to med school or law school graduate, do your internship and then get hired by a firm or hospital. Sometimes, I wish there was that kind of order.

Alda said...

Wonderful. She's just defined it for me - this strange compulsion to string together words.

Thank you for this post. It's just what I needed.

Felicia Sullivan said...

Thanks for all your wonderful comments! I meant every word I said, although I have to remind myself of my words, at times :)

Warmly, Felicia

barbie said...

In a world where most seek the comfort of banality, I write because I believe my voice is authentic; uniquely my own. We each have that voice but not all of us find it or even value what it means.
I write because I want the world to know I was here.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Deidre - good point. There are people who have gone to grad school for a MFA and can't get published. Meanwhile some random reality "stars" , who can barely string a sentence together, get major book deals. There is no one clear path. With all the changes and downsizing in publishing, I wonder if we will continue to see self publishing increase.

alda - you're welcome.

felicia - and thank you for writing those words.

barbie - amen.

toni said...

because I can't not...

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

toni - ha.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hello there!

I write because it is like breathing....sound corny? Not really. I write all day long, every single day. I keep a notebook in my bed and sleep with it and wake up in the middle of the night writing... writing is just a natural expression of personhood for the person who was born to write...

I can't even articulate it...

I carry a notepad everywhere I go and I have done that for years and years...

I was published for the first time when I was six years old...just a poem in a children's mag... but I knew THAT was my beginning.

The door of my destiny was wide open.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

bwbt - no. It doesn't sound corny at all.

徵信社 said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.
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參觀,Thanks