I want to make it very clear to anyone who may question it that I do not consider myself a writer. I mean, though writing is what I do and I hope to some day make a living doing what I love (and I do not think I really have a choice in the matter as it is a passion and a very deep one at that), and that I may accept the label of author for professional orientation, I do not identify with writing. I do not want to identify with it. I've even gone so far as to create a fictitious name to further separate me from who I am.
For better or worse.
Writing is something I do. It's something I'm driven to do. I love language and I love reading and I love writing. I really love meeting people who love these things. And yet there's a whole world out there at my finger tips. Many things interest me. I play guitar, I study philosophy, and I run, but I do not consider myself a guitarist, a philosopher, or an athlete. I am just me.
I don't use art to hold up life. Life breeds art, not the other way around. I will put my pen down and live just as quickly as I would turn the TV off and live. Life is out there, it's not in our hobbies. Our hobbies are really good at protecting us from some of the awful things life can dish out, but I never, ever, in a million years, want to hide in something I do as a way to escape something I don't want to do.
So I distance myself. I don't identify, and I don't allow myself to identify. Maybe I trust too deeply in my own psycho-babble, and none of this matters, but I think it does and I think it's important to say it. I think to identify with writing as “who I am” is to risk putting off the rest of the world. “Why should I do this or that? I'm a writer!”
I am the uncut block the Taoist sages spoke of. I have not yet taken shape, so I contain all the potential in the world. If I began to identify myself with specific things, I would stop growing. I would cut myself down to whatever size the idea I identified myself with required me to be.
I have yet to set the controls for the heart of the sun, so I may remain to see the stars.
Writing can be, and often is, one of the most enjoyable things I've ever experienced in my life. The “ah-ha” moments when a scene comes together, when I close a plot-hole, when I connect one part of my story to another, when a character suddenly says, through my fingers typing on my keyboard, something that makes the entire story make sense and come alive. It's like being born—I imagine.
A writer must have some level of egotism to want to share his/her words with others. This is hardly a bad thing. There are millions of readers who want writers to share their work with them. I'm one such reader. What if Stephen King had said to himself “No, I don't think I'll share this. I don't want to come across so egotistical as to think someone else would want to read it.”
If there was one law of story telling (or writing in general), it would be this: If you write it, you must share it. There's only one exception. Your personal journal. And if you do not want that to be shared, you should burn it, because we all know when you die your grandchildren will dig it out of the cardboard box in the attic and publish it.
This, of course, has nothing to do with me not wanting to identify with being a writer. Which makes this a
very poorly written blog post.