Last night I begrudgingly attended my school’s first Creative Writing Performance Night. I wanted to go to support my colleagues who had arranged it and who had agreed to perform. I was hesitant because I was exhausted and I wasn’t sure I was in the mood for angsty student writing. My original plan was to leave at intermission, but I ended up staying until the end.
I am really good at reading. I read quickly and I excel at literary analysis. I was surprised when I began listening to the pieces as a writer instead of a reader. After only writing for a few days with this challenge, I am already starting to look at the world as a writer and arranger of words instead of just a listener and decipherer of their meanings. I kept coming up with ideas for my own writing and imagining myself standing on stage next year.
Two students wrote about dealing with the suicide of a friend. I appreciated hearing about how they try to make sense of their loss One student wrote about love and I remembered sitting in cars with boys in high school. She described it so well. A colleague wrote about almost loosing his baby to pneumonia, and I cried. I was proud of the students for being brave enough to create and share.
I realized that there is nothing really original about the human experience that a writer can express. What writers do is put human experiences into words in unique ways. Writers notice small details and connect seemingly unrelated ideas and events. Writers, good ones, are honest and observant.
C.S. Lewis once said, “We read to know we’re not alone.” So why do we write? Yes, to communicate, but what else? To figure something out? To make sense of the world? To create a world which they can control? To start a conversation? To feel validated? To reach out to others and show them they are not alone? To change the world? All of the above? I need to think about this some more. Why do you write?