Why I Write

writing-quotesI write. It’s an impulse born from the need to escape overwhelming sorrow, but it’s become much more. Writing expresses my rage at the gap between what the world is and what it should be, at the short-sighted selfishness that kneecaps even the most determined attempts at beauty. I hold up love, honor, courage, and fidelity as banners, daring others to call them fairy tales. And I desperately hope it’s enough to justify my place on an increasingly crowded planet.

I love waking up. I even stay up late and take naps when I can, so I can do it twice. For that perfect moment, everything is clear. Fresh from being cradled in the arms of God, my thoughts are briefly transcendent. At that moment, I feel like I can write everything. A few paragraphs will send me leaping over the Misty Mountains of my desire, and this time, I won’t allow anything to stand in my path, not even myself.

It’s a point, like certain moments of parenting, where the intersection of responsibility and power shines with perfect clarity. As writers, we can create anything. Beauty, squalor, triumph, and failure. We’re absolute gods in our make-believe worlds. What do I do with my stories? Is it enough to justify their existence?

I never know, certainly not right away. I need distance from my work, time and space to build objectivity. Some stories are just that. Small moments to make you smile in a world that wishes to dictate both our laughter and our tears. Other tales mean more, at least to me. I’m fascinated by reader responses to my work. Even more so than painting, what another person brings to my writing makes it an intersection between them and me. For that brief span, we touch each other, even though we may never meet.

Sometimes writing is joyous, and I can barely type the words for the fierce elation flooding through me. Other times it’s pure work ethic, forcing myself to complete this portion of my chosen life’s work. Carrying the banner of hope starts within myself.

I don’t know how talented I am. How does one measure something like that? I do know I am determined enough to finish my tales and be judged. I believe there are far worse fates than a story locked inside, but it’s a useful metaphor for existence. Some people have their lives twisted until they are only a hollow shell. I’ve been to that place. I’ve raged at God, begging him to take back the gift of life he has given.

No more, or at least, not today. Today, it’s my hope that someone will read one of my tales, and it will reach an answering spark, a spirit uplifted in curiosity or mirth or hope. Light is stronger than darkness, and this is the brightest candle I know how to kindle.

Today, I write.

Avid writer and reader, especially of fantasy. Learning about social networking and always interested in honing my writing skills. Contact me at cathleentownsend.com.

Posted in Reflections
24 comments on “Why I Write
  1. What a wonderful expression of why you write! We all have our reasons, locked inside us or spilling out to each stranger we meet. We find our reasons and beget something bigger than ourselves, which is something pretty amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cathleen, I have a personal belief that when we can truly write honestly, that is the mark of a good writer. You certainly have that ability to pour your feelings out, and that comes through to the reader. That is the kind of passion that will keep you going, even in those times where you might feel like giving up.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thanks, Steph and Margaret, for your kind words. This post began in an email convo between Steph and me, and it’s been building a while. I’d simply reached a point that I needed to articulate it. And then I dithered for a while about posting it.

    But since this blog is, at least in part, notes to myself, it seemed important to put it out there, in case I ever lose track of my why. And it helps hold me accountable.

    Although really, I’m not sure how ghost stories work into this, at least the give-you-the-creeps kind. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. expressed.
    For that brief span, we touch each other, even though we may never meet.- great line and so very true, really summarises writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Wonderfully expressed*

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks so much, Lion. 🙂

    Like

  7. jlfatgcs says:

    You speak the words I (and many others) feel. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Aww…jlfatgs–that’s a great comment to wake up to. Thanks so much. 🙂

    Like

  9. sultanabun says:

    Nothing worse than to carry an untold story around inside you. Keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks, sultana. I’m currently working on a tale of a surfing platypus. 🙂

    Like

  11. You touch my heart, Cathleen. To feel such joy at waking to pursue your dream that you wake twice each day – that in itself is a worthy legacy to pass to all those around you. Loved this post. It’s been an extremely tough year for me and I’m just figuring out how to get up off my knees – your words help. Thank you, thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so glad, Sharon. Incidentally, I wrote this one morning right after I woke up. It blazed right out of me.

      I’m sorry it’s your turn to hurt–pain sucks. Writing helps, at least for me. Sometimes, it’s a relief to just be someone else.

      Of course, sometimes you get stuck, and then you have frustration to add to your general pile of angst. But it’s worth it for the moments of joy. 🙂

      Like

  12. Disa Wylde says:

    “Ghost” stories contain within them then underlying hope that there is life after death, even if they are creepy sometimes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That’s true–thank you. I feel better about that now. 🙂

    Like

  14. This is a poignant post, Cathleen. Wonderful to read what writing means to you, how it’s a joy, a wonderment and fulfillment.
    ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thanks, Tess. It was one that took courage to post.

    Like

  16. Rajagopal says:

    Beautiful articulation of your write urges, Cathleen. At the end of the day, or beginning of it, or at any time in between, the primary urge to write is driven by a compelling need to communicate, born out of the confidence that there is an unknown audience out there, keen on beneficially lapping up
    one’s offering. Best wishes…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks so much, Rajagopal. You’re right about the urge to communicate. I have no idea why mine mostly takes the form of stories. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Profound and eloquent reflections about the need to share and connect with others on deeper levels, Cathleen.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you so much. For some reason, I needed to share this. 🙂

    Like

  20. Reblogged this on "Welcome To ~Cat Lyon's Reading Den" and commented:
    PLEASE Meet Author, Cathleen Townsend.

    She is my BLOG, AUTHOR, and Much More Spotlight Pick of The Day! Her blog is AMAZING with helpful Tips & Advice for authors. I hear some pretty Good Book Buzz about her published books as well!

    Catherine Lyon

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thanks so much for the kind words and the reblog, Cat. 🙂

    Like

  22. marisselee says:

    Why I write? I have a blog with the same title. Lol. In general, I think, writers write because there is beauty in creating. It is like being in a bubble…a world on its own. Love this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think this is something most writers find a need to articulate in time. Knowing my why helps me to avoid stories that will be a dead end for me, and it keeps me going when the whole process gets frustrating.

      Like

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