When I started this blog, my sister asked me this simple question:
‘Why do you do it?
My simple answer:
‘I don’t know.’
While I don’t think she understood why I would dedicate hours on end to a project that did not deliver any immediate monetary rewards, I also didn’t venture to explain it to her. Learning about others in my circle who are embarking on their own artistic endeavors, I proceeded to give some thought as to what my more elaborate answer to this question would be. Here is my response.
My love of language was ingrained into my DNA. I was born an artist. It is part of my genetic makeup and it is something I cannot fight. I think if someone were to try to silence my need to write, I would become ill. My desire to use the written word to communicate and inspire is such a profound part of my persona that I can’t remember a moment when I didn’t use words to create my art. As a kid I wrote poetry, stories, comic books and very bad first chapters of novels. As a teenager I wrote letters, poetry, stories, songs, plays and very bad first chapters of novels. As an adult I have followed suit and I still write very bad first chapter of novels.
I equate my addiction to the compiling of words and paragraphs to my need for nourishment via food. I need to write and I still hold on to the notion that one day this will become my livelihood. Yes, I would like for my writing to provide for my family but I also realize that I must keep my day job to support this first love of mine.
I write everyday even if I don’t publish everyday. My mind is constantly looking for inspiration to fill the page. I am constantly creating scenarios, engaging characters, finding humor in the mundane, channeling emotions into prose and writing. I can become inspired at any moment and when the mood strikes I can fill pages of information or I can write one sentence on a post-it note.
Words are the lifeblood from which I draw respite from a sometimes trying day. Words are the fuel that burn the fires of happy in my life. Rarely do I find a better connection than when the perfect combination of words creates that sentence that is so uniquely mine and so sinfully delicious to the tongue, prompting me to admire my own work or prompting someone else to tell me they really ‘like that line…’
I write because I have to, similar to the painter who paints because he sees colors in his head or the musician who sees notes when he closes his eyes and places his hands on some piano keys. My best writing is ultimately a combination of messages that travel from my brain, through my heart bypassing any of the internal censors that govern and filter our ideals.
If you are out there and you are an artist as well, don’t fight it. Embrace it and let the muse take you to the heights your talents will allow you to scale, let your passion for your craft run wild and seek satisfaction in the construction of one perfect line, piece, chord progression or sampling of sound. Let your work cry out to the world the response that I should have given my sister when she asked me that very simple question:
I was born this way.