……and my answer is a variation on the same theme – because I can’t not write, because I have to, because I feel compelled to write down what these fictitious people are saying and doing and thinking. But I always leave out the most important thing, because I find it really difficult to explain when put on the spot.
In addition to the reasons listed above, I write because I want to feel things. I write because it seems that the only place I can legitimately express the desire for love and passion is in the words my characters express*. I can say the things I want to say, without fear of rejection, by way of a character to an idealized fictional version of the type of man I find attractive. I can be witty and pithy and strong and powerful in these scenarios, without losing my essential sense of who I am. In these stories, I am writing to find the best version of myself.
I think, in all aspects of art and creative work, we are searching for ourselves, for that voice that seeks expression. Having feelings, both negative and positive, are normal – how we deal with them is what makes us human. The more I pour my feelings, both light and dark, into my art and my writing, the better I feel.
By removing it from my inner self and splattering it on a blank canvas or Word document, I am dragging it out into the light, taking away its power and giving it a voice. It can sometimes feel like lancing a wound and letting the poison seep out, so that the wound can heal. And it did, for me, when a traumatic experience worked its way into a story. I had lanced that wound, that was slowly poisoning me for three years. It was never meant to be in the story I had been working on at the time. But whether I had meant it or not, my subconscious found similar elements in the story that had mirrored the circumstances surrounding my trauma.
I think, no, I believe, that is when I really began to heal.
Art is like that. Being creative is like that. Creativity gives us a way to express things in another form, if words fail us. Don’t be afraid of feeling. Express it in art and find your voice and your strength. Find yourself, get support, have faith in who you are.
*It’s also a safe and productive place to express darker themes, but that’s another post for another time.