Writing notes – August

I had an idea and started writing it, and it turned out that it had to do with something else.

This is a common experience for me. I’m a big fan of letting your unconscious mingle into the writing process. Only after I’ve finished the story do I ever know what it was really about, beyond the surface or the plot. I like that.

So this sci-fi short story that I wrote last night–the idea hit me a few days ago–turned out to be about fathers and sons and becoming a man. It probably took some of its life from my own difficult relationship with my father, but the story goes to a happier place, a really very satisfying conclusion. At least to me. Maybe it’s cathartic; maybe I’m meant to feel better about my own life now. All I know is that I really enjoyed writing it.

I’ve been thinking a lot, as of late, about the why and what of writing. Why I do it; what it does for me; what it means to me. I feel certain that part of the why is this self-discovery. There’s something about getting the words on the page that expresses things that otherwise would remain latent, unrealized because they were never said. But bringing them to life in a story or essay makes them part of me and my world like nothing else I know.

Maybe it’s my habitual silence, my unwillingness to impose on others, that makes this demand for self-expression so strong. I couldn’t say what it is, why I feel unfulfilled when I don’t write, and why I feel so much more clean–like a pipeline, refreshed with the cool filtered waters of the earth–when I write. I guess I don’t need to understand; I just have to know, to accept it.

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