I’ve often been told some version of the following: “Artists can either create art, or be miserable.”
So when I ask myself why I write, I usually fall back on that. But that may be a little easy. It doesn’t necessarily answer the question, and sort of lumps me in with a whole lot of people whose lives have been vastly different from mine.
I started writing when I was little, in an effort to copy my older Sister. She would write poetry, so I did the same. In retrospect, it amuses me that I started off with poetry, writing rhymes about red and black ants. The urge was already there, but I think back then I was trying to impress. I had plenty of options in life. I played sports, I loved video games, and I occasionally wrote some poetry.
It wasn’t until high school that I thought I could be a writer. By then I had been tricked into buying a book of poetry with my poem in it (they said it was a contest, it was not), and I wrote stories for my friends. It stopped being about impressing people, and more about leaving an impress on people. To this day, I love when people see something in my poetry or stories that I didn’t realize was there.
With time, I learned to love stories themselves. Not to imply all stories are inherently awesome, most are trivial by-the-numbers arrangements. I know, I’ve made a lot of them. The factors within stories, the logos that make up the different ideas humans connect to, how we manipulate them to get a response out of readers.
Consider 50 Shades of Grey. No matter how you feel about it, it also represents a story of a woman living in a complex patriarchal society being able to rest in the hands of a male figure of absolute power and control. If the idea of that doesn’t give you a knowledge boner, the story of a corporate suit douche-bag fisting a ditz actually representing high concepts of our whole society, then you may want to stay away from advanced English courses. Heck, that is only the surface stuff, because I’ve never finished the book.
Now I think I’ve gone well beyond the norm. I know English is considered an easy subject, and really it is probably as easy as any other. The difference is in how it makes you feel. Even when I hate books, I can enjoy them. Even when I write an atrocious story, I feel like I’ve manipulated the matter. The goo is in my hands, and I can create a new mythos.
The question isn’t if I can do it, I’ve done it hundreds of times and plan to do it hundreds more. The question is which will survive.