I’ve been tagged by Tony Noland, and East Coast writer and author of “Blood Picnic & Other Stories,” with a meme.
And that prompt is, “What does writing mean to you?”
If I were to say writing is an escape, I would be lying. Profusely.
When I begin to string words together, it’s like a first breath, the first time you’re aware of the blood rushing through your body when it’s all quiet and you can hear the flow through your ears. Whether that string was started as a scribbled idea in a notebook in the dark at 3 a.m. or from a writer’s prompt site, there’s that first rush of adrenaline, when you don’t know exactly where the words will take you (or the reader).
Sometimes, these words take me to a place that’s dark and disturbing. Sometimes (but not too often), they go someplace light and hopeful.
But always, the words begin to build and then there’s a terminus and you’ve got a short piece of fiction. You read it over. You choose better words. You fiddle with facts and add whimsy. Paint it a little darker here. Throw in a laugh.
Writing challenges me like no other thing in my life. Used to be, my greatest fear was losing an appendage, like a hand or a leg. Then I watched as my father went through a surgery the amputated his right foot, mid-calf. Doctors fitted him with a prosthetic leg and told him to stand up and walk. To their disbelief, he did just that.
I can now survive a prosthesis, because of the strength of my father’s resolve.
But waking up one day and not knowing how to string words together, well now that scares me right down to my soul.
Writing allows me to look at the world a certain way and report back on it to others. It’s the storytelling that most excites me. It’s like trying to paint a picture with words, so people who read know exactly what they’re looking at, without the benefit of the visual, the rod-and-cone sensation of the eyes.
I write because I have to; there’s really nothing out there, no other job, that has captured my attention, my heart, like stringing words together. I do it for me (writers are a selfish, self-centered lot), but I do it because it feels so natural.
It is never easy. There are frustrations and self-doubt and some self-loathing, too. But you continue to do it, because it’s just like breathing.
And writing takes you to anywhere you dare go.