First of all, I admit that I don’t call myself a writer. I think this is mostly because writing is such a personal and intimate thing, and we put so much of ourselves into our writing, revealing our worst fears, our most perverse desires, our failures, our innermost illusions. Naturally, there’s a sense of danger in that. When asked what I do, I’ll say I’m an Engineer. When asked what I like to do, I’ll say I write; if asked further, I’ll say I write stories. I’ll say I love writing. I’ll say my passion is writing. But I’ll never say I’m a writer.
Why do I write? I ask myself this question everyday. I don’t have a fancy literature degree. I’ve never taken a creative writing class in my life. I didn’t grow up knowing that I wanted to write. I wanted to be an architect. Slowly, a few years back to be exact, I came to realize that not only could I string words together, but that people were interested. I remember the first thing I ever wrote. I very naively uploaded a story on FanFiction and some minutes after, I got a review that went a little something like this: “Love it! Brilliant! Keep it up please!”
I was shocked, to say the least.
Maybe I’m not brilliant, or whatever. Maybe I don’t have a writing spirit animal. Maybe I’m terrible. And I’m fine with that, because writing is not meant to prove how skilled we are, nor how extensive our vocabulary is. Writing is meant to communicate. To make people feel something. We do it because we love it, because we are driven by it. Ever since I began writing, strange things have happened. I’ve discovered so much about who I am, my feelings, and what’s true about me. In the words of Gloria Steinem, “Writing is the only thing that, when i do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”
I write because I want to express myself. Because words are beautiful. Because writing is a great way to show people another side of me, and if someone out there happens to like what I write, then I am lucky. Because we all itch for connection, right? We want to have a sense of belonging and identification. We want to feel like we’re not alone in this struggle.
I’ll be happy if some indigenous person in Tasmania can relate to something I wrote, even if I don’t know that person, even if a whole continent, race, religion, or world separates us. We are all different people, but we feel love and pain just like everybody else.
I write because I can choose each and every one of my words and no one will interrupt me, pressure me, or hurry me up while I find them. I write because I want to share with you bits and pieces of my journey; I have to, otherwise everything stays in my head. I appear very much normal, but in my mind, there’s a circus playing — words, ideas, characters, stories, are all bouncing around, juggling and pirouetting, putting on a show like no other.
“So,” you might say, “what makes you think you can write?”
The answer is, I don’t know! All I know is I want to keep doing it.
Copyright © 2014 Elisa Marie Hopkins. All rights reserved.