I write, because it’s what I do.
Sounds trite or pretentious, but when you've literally got friends and family who tell stories about you refusing to play with the other kids, because you were too busy writing a story in your notebook, at the age of 6, it’s still factually correct. I was 5 when I knew I wanted to make movies. 6 when I knew writing them was how I intended to do that. I can only surmise that during some part of the gestational process, a seriously massive amount of “storytelling feels good” neural receptors were introduced to my brain at some point. And they refused to be budged, once in place — taking up space meant for the ability to remember something funny I heard 10 minutes ago and to see pictures in my head.
In all seriousness though, my brain has been highly verbal from very early on, and I suspect it has had a strong impact on my love of both reading and writing. And I think my brain functioning on words is in part because of my aphantasia — much like the classic blind person with an exceptional sense of taste. That’s it, right? My brain functions entirely on language and concepts, and with so many swimming around in your brain, it would be nearly impossible not to want to write some of it down.
When I’m not writing, I don’t feel well. And I mean that in every sense of the phrase. I feel sick, unhealthy, stressed, off-put, sad, angry, attacked, regressed, confused and agitated. The longer I go, the worse it gets. Even when I whine at myself that I haven’t written enough — which is pretty much every minute of every day — the reality is I’ve written 20 tweets, 3 unnecessarily long emails, a couple of cover letters, a few ideas on a list somewhere, and I’m composing a story in my head.
It’s not that there aren’t more lovely & flowery things I can say about why I love being a writer — what kind of a writer would I be if I couldn’t find flowery ways to say things? I mean, the union would keelhaul me. How’s that for a mixed metaphor? It’s just that while I love hearing someone tell me the way one of my stories exploded in their mind, or how surprised they were at some emotion it evoked, it’s not the “Why.” I don’t write because I love those moments when you come up with a line that’s witty as fuck, and when you Google every possible variation of it — because you’re sure you’ve accidentally stolen it — you found it really is all out of your brain. Those are just the moments when I most love what I am.
When people say, “Why do you write?” in my mind, the initial reaction is usually, “How does anyone not write?” You might as well ask how I remember to excrete liquid out of my pores when it’s “Is your thermometer broken?” hot outside.
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