In my last post, I asked what it meant to be a writer. Much like asking yourself why you’re here, I didn’t give a genuine answer. I didn’t give an answer because there isn’t one. Being labeled with the word “writer” means different things to different people. With this series of posts, I wanted to type down what I think. What do I think of being a writer? And what about the other things that come with that fabulous word? What about the sleepless nights or the burst of inspiration? Or the need to tell a story, but the lack of skill to do so? What about the insecurities or the frustration?
What about those?
To me, being a writer is being an artist with a pencil. Instead of painting pictures that the eyes can see, you paint pictures that form in the mind. Using virtual ink, I can use words to help you visualize a scene of a girl standing on a cliff.
She looks down at the ocean below, at its choppy water and jagged rocks. She looks up at the full moon set against a sky glittering with stars. A gentle breeze blows through her hair. With a deep breath and a smile, she jumps. Seconds before hitting the water, white wings made of feather unfurl from her back. With a shout of triumph, she goes soaring through the night.
Perhaps this isn’t the best description, but does it give you the idea? A girl, an angel, stands on a cliff. Why is she there? We don’t know. We just know she’s there because we’re told she’s there. If I were to add more details, you might picture this scene in your mind. Point is: books and stories are just as much art as the paintings displayed in museums around the world.
Like those very paintings, the words an author puts on paper are up to interpretation. Before, I used to think the interpretation of one’s story could not be controlled. After the author writes something and that something gets published, the author has no control over how reader feels about the portrayal of whatever is in that story. That’s not entirely true: there are some aspects that an author cannot control. How an audience will react to a joke is one of them. But one thing- one big thing- an author can and should control is how characters get portrayed in their books. This applies mostly to minority characters or characters whose stories authors have no relation to. While I won’t speak about it too much (there are plenty of other voices whose words on this I’d rather you listen to), but I will say this: writers must listen, they must learn, and they must do better.
Being able to tell a story, especially one that is close to your heart, is something I struggle with as a writer. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe one day I’ll figure this one, or maybe I’ll live a full life not knowing while blissfully writing my life away. But I know how much writing has impacted me. When I’m sad I write. When I’m angry I write. When I’m happy I write. When something amazes me, I’ll find the time to write about it. If an idea pops into my head, I’ll write about it. If I feel the need to speak about something, I’ll write. Every time I love goes back to writing somehow- I love songs with stories. I love when a movie’s plot works so well. But there are other aspects to my love of writing that I don’t think about too often. I’ve only recently thought about it and it’s been an adventure to do so.
How does writing affect who I am?
Can writing affect who I am?
The answer to both is yes, to the surprise of no one but me.