Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Writing is . . .

I was tagged by Tony Noland earlier this month with the question "What does writing mean to me?" I've been thinking about this question a lot throughout these busy weeks, when I haven't had much time to write.

When the last weekend rolled around, and hadn't written anything substantial in weeks, I was feeling emotionally weird, like the Sunday comics when the colors don't line up the way they're supposed to. Blurry. Discombobulated. Unbalanced.

And then the answer to that question (and a few others) was clear. I just had to find the time to write it down.

Writing is balance.

Writing is like balancing a scale. On one side of the scale are life, living, humanity, and a million other things I don't understand, from the mundane (sleeveless turtlenecks, tandem mountain bikes, British spelling) to the sublime (ignorance, death, women). I write to fill the other side of that scale and find or create balance — either in the world or just within myself.

Writing is an attempt to balance ignorance with knowledge, intolerance with understanding, and stupidity with . . . well, normally sarcasm and irony. (I have a really hard time understanding stupid.)

All the greatest works of literature have one thing in common: They show what "being human" means and, in the process, show us how to do it better. This is what I try to do when I write: to find some shortcoming — a misunderstanding, an error, a sin — and balance it out. Show that it isn't so complicated or powerful or impossible after all. Hopefully, that shortcoming loses its weight, bringing the scales closer to balance.

I hope now that these lucky bloggers will answer the question, "What does writing mean to me?"
  • Melissa Ecker (@MelissaEcker), who, as a writer of erotic fiction, probably writes for completely different reasons. [Looks like someone else tagged Melissa just last week. You can read her answer here.]
  • Sherry Noik (@SherryNoik), who is not only a writer, editor, and logophile, but a Canadian to boot. So I'm just asking for trouble.
  • Pauline Campos (@AspiringMama), who will probably block me on Twitter for tagging her.
  • Alexa Offenhauer, (not on Twitter, unfortunately [nudgenudgewinkwink, Alexa!]), who not only writes well and passionately, but teaches writing, too.