Why I Used to Write

I think I used to write to see if I could – to see if I had a voice or sounded any different from my peers.  In short I suppose: to see what I could come up with.

The first time I wrote, or really felt the power of the written word was as a young adolescent.  I remember having written something particularly transgressive and staring at the page.  These thoughts that I had earlier kept secret were now open to the world, they were in some ways incarnate, given life.  I felt myself in some ways a deviant, but at the same time, that a world had come to life.

I think I’ve returned to this particular pleasure often.  I don’t know if I ever wrote out a need to release anything, if I ever felt that writing was a particularly cathartic act.  Maybe it is for some, but I’ve never felt that I needed to write for those reasons – rather quite the opposite.

I wanted to write for “no one”.  I wanted to be a posthumous writer.

Some of the greatest pleasures of writing have come out of a feeling of moving deeper into madness.  An exploratory quest, to move deeper into the recesses and find any hidden passions, any lust for sin, a desire for decay, anything incorrigible – incorrigible.  What was revealed, and the desire itself, was in my mind, oh so human.

To descend into madness.  To lose myself in writing.  To push deeper into the night.  I used to describe the act of writing as simply watching words upon the page.  I used to think, sometimes, that writing should be as easy as falling down the stairs.

What is writing to me now?  I wonder.  As I become more of a middle-aged individual, I think, something to earn a living from, a source of passive income.  I wish I felt the pain of that realization a little more – I wish it was more poignant.

I used to write and say – yes – that I only wanted to find an honest word.  I used to write to fill pages.  I wanted to write for “no one”.  I wanted to be a posthumous writer.

Yet I can’t look back on those times and see them simply as quaint, a result or product of some youthful naïveté or idealism.

I felt quite despondent recently, thinking that my life might be one without grand wagers.  That I I might go through this life without having made any grand wagers.

What does it mean to cherish this life – to live fully?  What could it be to slander the gift of life?  Who can talk in these terms?  I vacillate and find myself caught between two lies perhaps: one, the idea that nothing has meaning, and the other, that I’m all that exists.


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