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Writing

Why do I write? Someday someone is going to ask me this question – Why did you start writing? What is it about putting words to paper that was so attractive to you?

First of all, even before writing, I am a reader. As soon as my mother taught me to read, I started devouring, first those little BOB books, then American Girl books, then to Harry Potter when my best friend introduced us when I was in the second grade.. Although I’ve since read the series at least once every summer, I’ve moved to the classics, Dickens and Austin and Hugo, and to the satirists, Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. Reading is as inherent to my being as breathing.

And then, in the seventh grade, I had an English teacher. This English teacher was amazing, brilliant, both in her mastery of the subject and in her ability to deal with seventh graders. She was the one who introduced me to the world of symbolism and imagery, how books weren’t only plot, but could mean something more. Some of my friends complained that she tore books apart too thoroughly, that the author could not have meant all that, that the curtains were blue and why couldn’t she just leave well enough alone, but I loved it.
I had always made stories, but I wasn’t a writer yet, more of an actor. We, me and my best friend and my younger sister, we would play games and probably half of them were Star Wars, more fan fiction than anything but as we got older, our stories, our plays, became more intricate and more developed. My best friend took the acting route – she just recently performed on a Broadway stage – and my sister, always the fighter, uses her language in debate, but I stayed with the stories.

That summer, after the seventh grade, I got an idea. It was just a little thing that sparked it – a boy made a dry ice bomb at a summer camp. But that one event lead to an idea, and that idea developed and became more intricate and finally, I put my pencil to paper. My fingers to keys, really, it’s only been in the last year or so that my penmanship has become good enough to enable me to write fast enough to sate my creativity. And even when I didn’t have a laptop, and when I didn’t write on paper, I wrote in my head. My stories became more complicated and I threw more in there, and so when I got a laptop I wrote and wrote, and the ideas didn’t come from anywhere, just flashes of inspiration that I keep stored away for that future time when I have time to put them in words.

But none of this explains why I write. I once heard, after I began writing, that you write what you know. Well, I looked inside myself, inside my soul, and I didn’t like what I found. But I wrote it down anyway. And as my stories became more and more complex, I poured in more and more of my soul, more and more of my darkness until I would reread what I wrote and understand new things about myself, I found that the words that I wrote about the plots that I created were actually about me.

I write when I am angry, and I write when I am sad, and I write when I am happy, and even when I’m not writing I am observing. I study people. I listen to how they talk, and try to extrapolate based on what I know how someone else with a completely different personality would react in their situation, how they would react in a completely different situation. I am a psychologist, an anthropologist. I am a scientist. I go to the library and try to explain the weird books that I read to my friends, I’m doing research, it’s fascinating, but they don’t understand the excitement and the joy I get from standing in a library, from basking in the air of knowledge, from reading something new and foreign and brilliant. From writing something well.

So why do I write? I can give no better and no worse of an answer that I write because I am a writer. I have an insatiable need to make words, to explain the world in my own terms, to make the world inside my head apply to the world outside of it. I love the shape and feel of words, I love the feeling I get when I put them together, and I love the way they affect the world. That is why I write.





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