As part of my participation in My 500 words, I am posting what I write each day.
Should writing be considered an art form or a source of income? I pondered that yesterday, stating that I believe there are some questions that are just unanswerable. Today is the last day of my 31 day writing challenge. I don’t know if I want to really go out with a bang, because I don’t think I want this to be the end. I don’t want to break my streak. What I think this is about involves another one of those types of questions.
Do writers write for money, attention, to communicate an idea, or just to write? I suppose there’s a different answer for each writer, but can I answer that for myself?
Of course I would like to earn a living at writing. But is that only so I wouldn’t have to work as much? Am I saying that I would want to quit my full-time job, which I love, to write full time instead? What would that mean for me? More time on my hands? What would I do with that?
Why do I write? I like to say that this is the reason: I have an itch. There’s an itch that starts out like a hair touching one’s eyelid or inside of the ear. Quickly, it begins to increase to a peeling sunburn in the center of the spine. Soon a burlap shirt with dried straw and rock salt is slipped on over the sunburned back and then the itch becomes all you know. Now imagine that itch inside of the brainpan, deep in the mind and thoughts. The world continues to exist, but between me and the world is the sensation of this magnificent itch that begins to be the most important thing that can be perceived. The itch must be scratched, it must be before it intensifies even more. And of course, there is only one way to scratch it, and that’s to write.
A good scratch after a long itch is like a long drink of cool water after a spell of angry shouting. Now imagine that scratch sustaining you through your day. Isn’t it a good way to start one’s day?
I would like to say that’s the only reason I write. It provides relief. But other factors come in. So it’s confection time. I work as a custodian. No-one at my current job treats me with any condescension or disregard because of my position in the workplace and the world. But I’m still a freaking janitor while other people go to lunch, visit one another, plan big things in meetings and here am I trying not to disturb them, quietly emptying the trash from their take-out meal and picking up their half-empty coffee cups when they’re all gone.
This is all on me, but sometimes I just feel a little low. Other things in my life frustrate me too. And here is the real confession that isn’t much of a secret, but the driving force behind why I write. I’ve struggled most of my life with things I can’t control. My kids are getting older and I don’t read to them at night anymore. My truck is leaking oil all over God’s creation. I don’t always get what I want anywhere and I just keep my mouth shut about it. But there is something I do about it.
I wake up in the morning before anyone else and switch on my laptop. I enter into worlds of my own creation and spin scenarios that I think should happen.
Writing is an escape.
There are other reasons too. I was going to write about my muse this morning but the words got away from me. But there it is for anyone to read. I don’t know if anyone actually reads my blogs of late. I just post it as part of my 500 words challenge, which I have now completed.