Saturday, August 4, 2012

Why I write (One of many)

Sometimes I wonder what drives me personally to write. Sometimes people even ask.

I don't know. I can't answer that. What makes you breathe?

But sometimes, I come up with something (clever) that I need to share.

As I sit here writing, (not this, something else,) staring at my fingernails, still dirty with sawdust and oil and little bits of dinner that never quite wash out, but must be cut away (where was I going with this?) I think about finishing a good book. And how I feel, sometimes, when I close that cover and put the book down. (Generally moments before I consider reading it again.)

That feeling of...completion?

Anne Lamott described it as lonely, and that's close. The characters have left us, at least for the moment, and we must go on without their guidance.

I say: "That's it?" I'm not upset or displeased. I am not dissatisfied. Ok, I probably am, like finishing my favorite pizza, I want more, but I can only eat so much OK?! More like "Why doesn't this keep going? When is the next book out? How will I go on when so much has ended?"

I think Sam felt this way near the end of the Lord of the Rings. I always found it a little creepy that he was feeling the same way I did shortly after.

That's what I want to do to someone. Ok, sure I write for me, but I also write because of what I can do to other people with what I already love.

I write for the bored teenager, awake at 3 am on a school night, 80 pages from the end of the book, so sweaty and engrossed in the last few pages that he (or she) can't even get off the bed to piss, but clutches at the book with fingernails at least as dirty as mine.

I want them to kill those pages in one mad dash, when he should be sleeping (or at least doing homework,) and wrestle through the best parts, where the hero overcomes something big (after which the hero probably dies. That's how I does it,)  and things more or less wrap up and this sleepy reader tosses the book across the room and screams my call: "That's it?"

I want to torture them for a year or two as I write a sequel. When we finally finish the series, they'll sit on their porch, drinking lemonade, living a story they can tell their kids later. They finish and put it down and think "That's it?" But this time they don't throw things, because ok, maybe that's enough.

I mean, I'll write until I die and if no one ever reads it, I'll keep writing. I might be sad, but it won't stop me. However, "that's it" is my favorite feeling with books. And I want to share that.

Or...force it upon unsuspecting youths.

I don't think that's weird at all.

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