Thank you, Jake. That was an enormous compliment, godzillian, even. :D
I agree with much of what you’ve written here, regarding inspiration, etc. I find I’m pretty bad at inspiring with direction. It’s never been my strong suite.
What I usually end up doing, through poetry, is trying to inspire an emotion in the reader. I look for that resonance where my writing not only peeks under my surface, but peeks under the reader’s as well.
My fiction prose is usually meant more for entertainment than anything else. While I think that’s fine, very few “classics” have ever become classics without inspiring more than a sense of entertainment in the reader.
When I think back on the fiction novels I consumed in mass quantity growing up, it was pure escapism. I think people need escapism, so maybe my purpose in writing fiction is to provide a world compelling enough that someone wants to escape into it.
With my non-fiction prose, I’m unsure. I’ve only begun to really explore it in the latter half of 2016. I didn’t think anything non-fiction about me could possibly be worth reading to anyone else.
Then it occurred t me how one of my favorite things in the world is a good conversation with an intelligent person… it’s often more of an exchange of stories than anything else, so why not write those stories down if they were interesting enough to chat about?
I find my purpose in that is:
- Self-exploration. I’ve learned a lot about myself from writing about my experiences. People say it in platitudes, but I’ve found it’s absolutely true.
- Sharing a different perspective on life. Tolerance and acceptance begins with understanding a person past their skin color or birthplace. The more knowledgeable you are in looking at different perspectives, I believe the more complete you are as a person.
- Shared experiences. Not everyone is a writer or knows how to express him/herself, but when they read something that echoes a situation, feeling, or an event that their psyche holds dear, it’s a similar sensation to what the writer feels when writing it. I have a book, Lakota Woman, which is very dear to me. I am neither Lakota or a Woman, but the experiences and thoughts in that book caused me to make some serious self-reflection and showed me several different perspectives, as a reader not a writer.
Anyways, that’s just what your letter stirred up in my head. :)
Thanks again for the mention. Like most writers, I suppose, I spend a large amount of time feeling like my writing sucks.