(This is my submission for the terribleminds.com flash fiction challenge due on this date. Less than an hour from now. I am procrastinator, delayer of responsibilities!)
Why do I write? I spent about fifteen minutes writing a quite unfunny opening with questions like “Why is the sky blue?”
The truth is I write because I’m terrified of what will happen if I don’t. I’m about to be a senior in college, and my major doesn’t have anything to do with creative writing. I just recently got published for the first time in my college’s literary journal with a story about a religious serial killer. It felt like a big step for me, but I’m secretly terrified that I’ll be looking at that short story twenty years from now wondering where it all went wrong. Or, more likely, where it didn’t go at all.
I also write because my head is filled with images that have haunted me since a very young age. I write in order to get these characters on to paper. To develop them so that they seem more like real people and less like voices in my head.
The truth honestly is that I don’t write enough. Isn’t that what this whole blog really focuses on? Chuck is successful because of his work ethic. He writes harder, motherfucker. He churns the shit out of the old leaky word machine in his head until the screeching of its gears make the sad go away.
Or so I presume.
I talk about writing quite a bit. I refer to myself as a writer, especially since I’ve been published. You published a twelve hundred word short story on a small college’s literary journal. Well, holy roman shit, you must be the next Truman fucking Capote!
I’m also very hard on myself, and always have been. I start to pump out a few paragraphs and quickly shoot myself down. “This was shit, that was garbage, and what the fuck is that supposed to mean?” I read books from my favorite authors like Wendig, McCammon, and Gaiman and think, “You will never get a glimpse of the talent these men have.” I’m feeling that way with The Harvest right now.
But then I rethink the sky being blue at all. Not always. Sometimes it’s orange and purple. The image reflected in my eyes stirs my creative core, and I want to write it down. I write that on some fictional evening the sun was setting on the horizon. That the sunset resembled a gentle flame caught within the glass of a candle scented with lilacs. That it wraps around the ongoing Earth like a father on return from duty would his children. I picture scenes from my childhood when my own father returned from such. These memories are very vivid, and I think about writing them down as well.
I write because it is therapy. I write so I’m not alone with my thoughts. My memories and my experiences reproduce with the unreal and the fictional to create a beautiful in-between. I write because I have a voice I feel others will relate to. I write because I truly believe that relation is one of the grandest parts of the human experience.
The truth is honestly that I don’t write enough. But that’s why I’m writing this, isn’t it? Chuck is successful because of his work ethic. He writes books that I love with characters and stories that have pushed me into this chair and onto this keyboard. His voice is one that I like the sound of, one that I find familiar. I write because I believe that my own old leaky word machine is ready for some churning, and it’s time that the sad went away.
Of this, I don’t presume.