Where does writing begin?

the front of a card made by my mom--a self-portrait
the front of a card made by my mom–a self-portrait

We all have a story why we write or make art or create whatever it is we create. How far back does the story go?

Does my story go back to the first book I fell in love with? (Watership Down) Does it go back to my mother’s love of books? My grandmother’s love of books?

Does it have anything to do with books at all?

Does it go back to rarely being listen to and hardly ever believed?
Does it go back to my dad making up stories about the world around us?
Does it go back to my DNA coming together in just the right way?

Is a writer’s brain wired differently? Or does writing rewire the brain?

Does it go back to trying to remember something I forgot or back to trying to forget what I don’t want to remember? If you retell a story often enough, do you forget which version is true?

How true is your memory anyway?

How did you come to love books? (If you’re reading this I can’t help but think you love books. Am I wrong?)

It can’t be simply because you grew up surrounded by books. If you did. Some people discover books away from their home. They don’t grow up in a house filled with books, and yet they become writers.

I grew up in my father’s house. He had few books. he couldn’t read well. He had a Bible, a few Time/Life books, a dictionary, and a copy of Huck Finn. That was it.

My mother didn’t have many books in her apartment because she had no money for books and moved all the time. But she was always reading library and cheap used paperbacks that she’d sell. Grandmother didn’t have many books because she didn’t like the dust. She hated to dust. She didn’t buy many things because they’d have to be dusted. But she read library books all the time, took me with her, and if a librarian wouldn’t let me check out a book, my grandmother would check the book out for me.

I have hundreds of books. We have so many book cases and still I don’t have enough room for my books. But I can’t bring myself to get rid of them. I don’t notice the dust.

But shelves of books alone won’t make you a writer.

What makes you a writer?

11 thoughts on “Where does writing begin?

  1. The urge to write comes from within me, it feels essential to express something that must be expelled, given life. Writing comes from my soul. As a child, books were my escape into beautiful, alternative realities where I could ignore the ugliness of the people who surrounded me, the fear, violence, screaming and drama of every waking moment. I didn’t want to live in that world. Through books, I discovered the magical world of faery, ballet, literature and poetry. I am wired differently to my family. And I have spent a lifetime studying why and what makes us different, one from the other. I can simplify it: soul!

    1. I’m sure escape was a primary motivation for reading back when I was young. The desire to write I’m not so sure. I think I loved the way stories made me feel and I wanted to make stories too that created that feeling.

  2. My readers were the reason I became a writer… The first time I mentioned my ideas I got positive reviews. That’s when I realized I wanted to create new stories.

    1. I was writing before i told anyone about it. I was 8, I think, when I wrote my first poem. And really I don’t know how many people will want to read my work. I write anyway. But it is true that having someone excited about a story you yourself made is a wonderful thing.

  3. I’ve often wondered this myself. Might be genetic for me, as my entire family is artistic. But then again, we have a lot of substance abuse in our ancestry, so maybe the creativity was an escape, a survival technique observed by each successive generation…maybe? This is probably it. Art is an escape, and my family is full of that, whether it be chemical or creative. I’ve always believed compulsive creativity is the sign of a powerful mind, but maybe that belief is also an escape from reality.

    Good post.

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