I am a writer and I am not sorry for that.
I write what I want to write.
I write what brings me joy.
I write what lets me express and explore my pain.
I write the things I want to read.
I write, inspired by others.
I write to challenge myself.
I write for others on occasion.
I write for myself.
I write also what I need to write.
I am a writer and I am not sorry.
My writing statement, September 2018.
What and why do you write? Scott Russell Saunders, author of The Most Human of Arts, gives a list of reasons we need stories. These include teaching us to be human, to educate our desires, to show us consequences, to teach us empathy by looking through the eyes of other people, to delight in language, and to create community.
Are you apologetic about your writing? Do you feel uncomfortable using that label? If not, did you ever? Has anyone made you feel uncomfortable about what you write by criticising you for writing “dark” or “problematic” fiction? How do you get past negative reviews or rejections?
Think about your writing and maybe write your own statement that says “I am a writer…” and see what comes up for you, what is most important or relevant to you right now. Are there are any surprises? Or are you secure in your approach to writing?
Today is Writing Wednesday, week 2 of the month, but Writer’s Block and personal issues have struck. So instead of something new, I’m revisiting some past posts that you might not have seen (or remember!)
An earlier version of this prose poem appeared in my personal journals. This updated version still reflects the struggle between the concept, creation, and completion of a creative work and how we are often biased against ourselves.
An earlier version of this poem, about the joy and pain of creativity, how much the lack of support for one’s artistic endeavours of whatever kind can hurt, and the monetary vs intrinsic value of art, previously appeared at a personal journal as part of the importance of audience series.
THE ARTIST: What it is to live with the muse
She sculpts, removing the extraneous stone
Revealing the beauty within
It is her greatest passion to find and display every
Curve and line
She meets him at a gallery next to a coffee shop
He’s admiring Van Gough prints
She loves them too
They talk for a while, agree to meet next week
Frank lounges in his seat
Disappointed with himself
“No auditions?” Joe asks
“No. Not even for an ad this week.”
Joe shakes his head, saddened
But he tries to be encouraging
“You’re still an actor.”
“Yes,” Frank agrees
Because that’s true.
He is still an actor
Regardless of his work
“And you’re good.”
“And you’ve memorised all of Hamlet’s lines.”
“So what does it matter
If no-one ever sees you perform?
You can recite the whole soliloquy
In the privacy of your own lounge.
Give a moving performance.
That should be enough, right?”
“Right,” Frank agrees
With false brightness
“Like, getting a part in a play
Should be enough, if the show is great
Even if no-one attends.”
“That’s bollocks, isn’t it?”
Because what’s the point
Of a performance
That goes unseen?
Or a record that never
The importance of audience is a theme I have explored before and will continue to revisit. This particular poem was previously published at a personal journal. The crux of the poem is something writers are told frequently: “You should write for yourself, and it doesn’t matter if no-one reads“; if that’s true, then the same ought to apply to all the creative arts.