Monday, January 20, 2014

Why do you write?

I'm almost done writing six stories in less than two weeks. Five of them weren't particularly difficult of articles, but that last one really called upon my entire being and all my brain cells. That's on top of a full-time job as a magazine editor. I know what you're thinking: Oh, the glamour. Oh, the excitement.
You're half right. I'm naturally curious, so any chance to take on an assignment I'm unfamiliar with, I can't but help but get a shiver of excitement. I was the kid who tried things just for the mere reason to know how they work and consider that itch scratched. I remember one dreadful experiment I conducted without much forethought: What do party streamers do when wet? Do they stay crinkled? How do they come in such brilliant colors? My vessel was a brand-new jewelry box. A gift, I'm sure, from said party. I can't remember exactly my mom's reaction, but the results: wet streamers are bleed their colors since they're dyed, creating a gross, fragile mess and ruining the interior of the jewelry box. Curiosity fulfilled. Hopefully the punishment was to. Also: I was five.
When I wrap up my writing assignments I take time to reflect. It's a really critical process that's best done with a glass of wine, or two. Writing is not for the sensitive of heart. Writing is not for the disorganized. Writing is not for the uninterested. Curiosity has to burn in your soul.
Why do I write? My answer has changed over the phases of my life. I discovered I loved writing my junior year of high school. My prose back then was primarily brilliant moody poetry full of teenage angst. Too bad the literary mags didn't think so. My junior year I received around 15 rejection letters, but I persevered.
In college, I toyed with continuing my literary love and becoming an english major. This was after I royally failed my first class toward becoming a speech pathologist, a career I picked out of the list of majors offered at my school. {I told you, I'm very curious. And by royally failed, I got a C. Ouch.} I hadn't heard of anyone making money with an English degree, so naturally I opted to become a journalist.
Now I write to see what I can do. I write to explore the world around me. Every phone interview is like getting on a plane all by yourself to destination unknown and trying to learn the language from the locals. This year I'm 10 years almost fluent, and sometimes I wonder that I wouldn't make a better scientist. I'd probably burn the lab down. Time for glass number two of vino.

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