This thought came about when I was discussing one of my friend’s current writing projects with him over coffee. “Yes, but WHY are you writing it?” I finally asked between spoonfuls of foam. (Milk foam is the only real reason I drink coffee. If tea came with foam my life would be just about perfect)
My friend had a very good answer to that question, and I wish him the best of luck with his most interesting work, but what struck me is how long we had been talking about writing before the Why of it even came up. I realised that it had been a very long time since I’d heard that question, and even longer since I tried to answer it.
Why do I write?
When I was fifteen the question came up nearly every second day, mostly from peers who were trying to understand why I would rather be writing than accompanying them to the rather insalubrious high-school socials. The answer was simple then: because said insalubrious high-school social (or assembly or maths exam for that matter) would be so much cooler with dragons.
Writing was about saying “Wouldn’t it be fun if…” “Wouldn’t it be interesting if…” “I wonder what would happen if…”
It was a chance to create and play, to remake the world and find stories and meet characters.
If you asked me why I write today, that answer would not be so easy to reach. Sure, I have the stories that sing themselves out of the dreaming and demand to be written, and the old friend stories I have been working on for years, but it has been a long time since I wrote because it would be cooler with dragons.
Maybe growing up shouldn’t have to be all the way, all the time. I am a Writer now (capital and all) which I certainly wasn’t at fifteen, but surely a Writer who has forgotten how to pick up a pen and play, surely can’t have much interesting to say.
If nothing else, a decent dose of dragons would certainly liven up my Monday sociology lecture.