For my birthday a friend gave me a lovely little box all wrapped up with a bow. Wondering what could possibly be inside, I tugged the ribbon off and lifted the lid. It was a pin. A round one – the kind with logos and sayings on them. Mine declared in a careless scrawl, “I write to silence the voices.” And perhaps that’s true, because I really don’t have a consistent answer to that question. When people ask me point blank it depends on the day what pops into my head to tell them.
I loved creative writing in school but I never really did anything with it once I reached adulthood until I got laid off and was out of work for ten months at a time after my husband had passed away and all my kids had flown the coop. Perhaps that was the first time things got quiet enough in my life for me to actually hear the voices. I eventually found a new position and returned to full time work. Five years later I took a hiatus and spent two years in the Peace Corps, then returned to work, but all that while the stories kept coming to me and I kept writing. In spite of the fact that so far I'd not convinced a publisher to take on any of the books I'd written.
Now I’m retired. I’ve built a new life in a new city, made a ton of new friends, and gotten involved with the historical re-enactment community. I live by the beach and spend at least some small part of each day on it, generally walking barefoot in the sand, as my website tagline suggests. I don’t need a royalty check to pay the mortgage or put food on the table. Writing had never become a career. So, WHY do I still write?
Why do I spend most of my time with my fingers on the keyboard and my head lost in the lives of imaginary people? Writing their stories does not shut the voices up, it just encourages them. They whisper in my ear while I’m falling asleep and shout to be heard over the rush of water in the shower. They keep me company while I’m walking the beach, and my dog is off checking out the scents of every other creature that visited the area recently. They argue with me when they don’t like what I have planned for them. My hero wants to get laid, and I tell him to take a cold shower. My heroine wants to find Prince Charming, and I tell her to get real. The kid can’t wait to grow up and I preach patience. I put my fingers on the keys absolutely certain I know what I’m going to write next, but when I pause, I realize that my characters have gone and done something totally different, and they are thumbing their noses at me. But even so, I am compelled. I keep writing.
My laptop travels with me wherever I go. I can’t leave these fascinating characters behind, even if they are contrary and argumentative half the time. They are real and they have lives to live and stories to tell and somehow, I’ve been elected to tell them. I’m considering an even more portable tablet and if they come out with an App for my smartphone, I’ll have it downloaded in a heartbeat. I simply can’t imagine NOT writing. But why?
And this morning the answer came to me in the form of a quote from Steve Jobs that a friend posted on Facebook:
“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.”
Check out WHATEVER IT TAKES, a Political intrigue publised by Wings ePress - June 2012 --- and coming in March of 2014 the first of my Contemporary romance series (the Camerons of Tides Way) FALLING FOR ZOE.