Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I am a Writer.
I remember when I was 13 and working on writing something. A friend innocently asked, “are you going to be a writer?”
“Yes.” Definitive answer, but of course, what else? How could they ask such a silly question.
Over the years I have written many things. Poems, plays, stories, album and book reviews. Give me an occasion, give me an audience, and I’ll write something for you.
My answer to the “are you a writer” question has evolved, too. “I do some writing.”
As recently as last summer someone asked me what I was going to do with my English degree when I finally have it in hand. “I’d like to get published, maybe teach writing.”
I am learning now that one does not become a writer, one simply is. I am required to write for my classes. A certain particular level of expectation is placed upon me by my professors. I am not “doing some writing,” I am expressing through writing.
In Hallucinating Foucault, Patricia Duncker says, “The identity of a writer is always a subject for speculation.” That set me to thinking. Why is it so difficult to tell who a writer is? Because a writer is always changing, always absorbing the atmosphere, always experiencing something. A writer doesn’t go for a walk. A writer immerses themselves in the world touching the flowers, smelling the factory smoke, hearing the colors, feeling the music of the day. A writer is constantly becoming someone new.
A writer cannot be a distant friend regardless of how alone they appear. A writer will experience the lives of those around her. A writer feels differently than everyone else. A writer may try to closet themselves away, to be separate. Don’t be fooled by this silence. It is only in response to her depth of emotion that she cuts herself away. When she simply cannot bear the burden any longer, she must be alone to write.
A writer is never content, never satisfied, never finished. There is always something else pushing a writer to continue. Words haunt a writer’s mind. Floating above the common scene, words dart about waiting to be captured by the writer. Once the expressions begin, a writer cannot stop until the picture is painted. Completely.
I can no more just “do some writing.” I must empty myself of the emotions, expressions, experiences which have grown in me, around me, through me.
I am a writer.