(Essay first appeared in the Why We Write section of 1888 Center web site on July 11, 2016.)
Why do writers write? Fundamentally it’s pretty much the same. We write because we must; because this is who we are. I could say the same for me, but I prefer to look at this from a slightly different perspective: what would happen if I didn’t write?
I’ve done it before. This “hiatus” lasted for nearly ten years and I felt the consequences of my writing inaction.
Misery. Pure, pure misery.
There was also hate there. And anger. At what? At myself. At life. At various people.
During this period, I dealt with a lot of losses. My vision and hearing due to a progressive disease. The death of my first husband at the age of 25. A miscarriage. Nearly losing my second husband to Pericarditis. Job loss due to restructuring. My father to an aggressive lung disease.
You know, life.
It’s something we all experience. We get up each morning. We breathe. We eat (except for those who live solely by coffee). We go about our daily duties. And for those of us who can, we sleep.
Day in. Day out.
As humans, we’re survivors. I mean look at the history of mankind. It’s a miracle that we even exist!
So, that’s what I did. I strived to survive. Only it wasn’t enough. Anxiety and depression slipped into my life. I felt I was slowly losing myself. Heck, I wanted to lose myself! I mean why did I keep fighting to live? At some point in our existence, we all die.
Something was missing. A piece of me was missing. I just couldn’t figure it out.
My second husband, Jay, presented me with a gift for no special occasion. It was out of love he gave me this precious item, and because he knew me better than I did.
A beautiful leather-bound book full of white pages.
I instinctively knew what I had to do. I took a pen and painstakingly filled each page with words. As Hemingway so eloquently said years ago, I bled on those pages.
I’d found the missing piece of myself.
My writing soul.
So, whenever I’m asked, why do I write?
I write because the price is too high NOT to.