Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why I Write MEME

I’ve been tagged by M at PWADJ to list my five greatest strengths as a writer which, in my opinion, is an invitation to brag about myself on a subject I have no business bragging about. Therefore, in order to complete this assignment I had to engage in some mental masturbation around the word “Strengths.” My solution? I’m going to list my top five reasons why I bother to write.

1. I have to. On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, writing fits in somewhere between breathing and eating. However, much like a camel, I can go for long stretches doing without. And then it comes. And when it does, I feel pregnant and full – uncomfortable. And once the water breaks around my idea, I have to grab a pen and get to the task. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing. That’s what emergency shoulders are for, aren’t they? I’ve given birth on the side of the road many times.

2. So I can exaggerate. When I was little, every spider my mother needed me to kill was THIS BIG!!! (Dennis is holding his arms open as wide as they’ll go). In some ways my entire childhood was an exaggeration – in the home of an addict, everything is out of proportion. Every story we’ve ever heard is somehow based upon an exaggeration. I love telling stories, especially tall tales. Writing gives me the opportunity to spin yarns of delicious proportion. In the process, I feel very much alive, connected and nourished.

3. To give insanity a voice. There’s not much I have to say about this. We all need to speak our truth. For me, my fingers will betray me much faster than my mouth. I can’t always say what needs to be said, but usually I can write about it. Speaking my truth, especially through poetry helps me to be sane again. When I feel crazy, I grab a pen.

4. Validation. If I write it down, there’s a record. Often I’ll write about feelings. Reading my own words, especially many months or years after I’ve written them helps to make my experiences more real to me. I can read a poem or a story and say, “Yeah. I remember. That was a very bad time for me. I’m so glad I’m not in that space now.” Validating feelings and experiences is extremely healthy. When others read my words, I’m further validated.

5. The trip. I said this before in a previous post, that writing takes me places I can’t get to with an SUV or a rope. For me, writing is a sensory and emotional experience of unimaginable proportions. When I enter my mind armed only with a pen (or keyboard) amazing things happen. Words are given new or unusual meanings and language becomes a toy. I am both the artist and the subject at the same time, and the master of my universe. I make the rules and then break them. And the experience of truly turning a meaningful phrase is intoxicating. And believe me, I’m an expert when it comes to highs. This is about as good as it gets.


pwadj said...

Easily my fave thing is the exaggeration part. I second that. I take so many ,liberties with my stories! They are mine, after all!

Dennis said...

I know!!! Isn't that the best? Plastic Reality . . .

my backyard said...

I enjoyed your answers, esp about the size of the spider