Why Write? Part two

N.B. – moved from my old blog

I have to admit that it feels ridiculous at times to write fiction, when I stop and consider the sheer amount of fiction that already exists in the world. I’m sure there are numbers somewhere that tell us how many novels have been published this year, how many have been submitted for publication, how many have been written in history, but the actual quantity is irrelevant. Just knowing that books like “The Tale of Two Cities” or “Brideshead Revisited” even exist is enough to make me wonder why I should bother. There are already more novels than anyone could ever read, and large proportion of them are ridiculously better than what I am writing. This has been a kind of nagging fear in the back of my brain for a long time, but recently my thinking has changed.

Every so often in conversations, especially late at night when people become practicing philosophers, the idea comes up of how we cannot really know what’s in another person’s mind. Words are the best we have to communicate what’s in our mind, but there are always times when words fail. Sometimes we write our words down, some of us paint pictures, write music, build towers, to say what we think and feel about the world, but communication is always a hit and miss proposition.
We cannot have perfect communication with other people, no matter how close we become, so we go through all of our tricks of expression to try and get at what we see and think and hear and know in the quiet places in our soul. For me, that means I write stories, because there are things I want to say about the world, and this is the only way I seem to be able to say them.

And this is the way other people say them too, and it is one of the most powerful forms of communication. A good story can sometimes say more than any other form of expression. And as many before me have pointed out, most of the Bible is stories, even stories within stories, and one all encompassing ‘In the beginning’ to ‘The End’ story. Sometimes, a story is the best way to say what you mean.

So why another story? Or song or poem or picture? Because I’m me, and not you. I’ll read yours, to see what you see, if you can make it compelling and uniquely you. Maybe you’ll read somebody else’s, and get something about the world you couldn’t see on your own.

The thought that there might be someone out there who could participate in my view of the world for a little while, and enjoy what they find there, is a thought that keeps me writing.

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