Why We Keep Writing

Empty jam jars, stained with yesterday’s milk and coffee, surround the papers and pens.

I have a reason to write. I keep telling myself.

I read great writing and think: Ok, now my turn.

A hang nail drives me crazy while I type, Ok I can’t do this.

I am writing a novel about a toxic friendship between a woman who can’t accept herself and a woman who insists that she is in control of both of their lives.

Pain, hang nails, dead milk, ugly faces, I keep shaking my head.

I have a reason to write. I make reason of writing. I am unreasonable in my insistence that writing is the only reason for living but here I am: Telling a story about a toxic friendship which is easily identifiable as 50% maybe even 60% of all the relationships ever had by young people.

The older I get, the more reasons I have.

When I was in my twenties, all I had were the years before me and now I have more years, more information, more understanding.

The purpose of my writing has become more acute.

I am more focused on one story at a time.

I no longer need to write about the people who I wish I never met.

For instance, the man I will only ever remember as “the guy who ruined my life”. I don’t need his story any more. I have new stories. Or else, I have gained perspective on the story of him and I no longer care.

I have a reason to write and it’s because writing is a portrayal of time.

Writing, for readers, is assistance. It’s a marking on the reader’s time, their life, “I read this today, I took time to read this today, and through it I moved through a story that isn’t mine and next thing I knew it was night time and I lived the day without any indulgence in my own personal story which, I now know, from having gained a day, isn’t so fucking bad.”

Reading is a privilege, right? It’s a use of time and, in many cases, money. It’s a skill and an activity that is learned and pursued by individuals in their leisure time, much like anxiety, much like interpersonal conflict.

Writing, therefore, enhances the lives of the people who, in their privilege, forget to think about greater things.

I write for a reason.

I write because I believe in the task of spinning time forward and forgiving the past.

I have written two novels and they have no home yet and I don’t care.

I’ll publish them somehow, who cares.

I write a new novel because it’s about toxic relationships and I know how many of us waste time on toxic relationships. So, I figure: I’ll write a saga the book that pushes time forward for the readers who suffer from poisonous bullshit people.

I gulp extremely old coffee.

A glare in my right eye reminds me that I am blind and I have no idea where my glasses are.

Bitter mucus mystery of my moment to beckon with the internet on the topic of persistence and maybe also resilience.

Here’s a writing exercise if you’ve made it to the bottom of this article:

  1. Stare into or above a candle or light
  2. Describe it, every movement of every glaring speck of that light, describe what it does, what it says to you, who they are
  3. Once you’ve settled into who the light is, write them a story. Tell them a story about darkness. Something they don’t know. Give them every bit of darkness you can.
  4. Sit still. Take in the light. Cry or laugh.

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