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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why Do You Write? LWC Writers Share Their Top Five

This winter LWC will celebrate five years of LWC. We are starting the celebration a little early by doing a weekly top-five series. Each Wednesday LWC members will post their top-five answers to a specific question. This is week four and LWC writers were asked:

Why do you write?

Dennis Stafford:

1. I write to reveal a little piece of myself that otherwise would never be known. What is most enjoyable is that others don’t know which parts of me are represented in my writing. Am I the fearful man or the aggressive bully? Am I kind or mean? Which parts of me are in which characters? Only those closest to me know and some things nobody but me can see. I am laying my soul bare for the world but it is woven into the story in such a manner that most people never know how much I have shown them.
2. I write to make sense out of life. In my story world I can cause things to turn out as I would like them to. I can punish, promote, reward or tax anyone in any way I choose. It’s my world I am creating. My word is final, at least until revision time.
3. I write to entertain others. When someone reads what I have written and likes it I am pleased. I enjoy their enjoyment.
4. I write because I enjoy it.. Writing takes me away for a while. I can be on a boat in seconds. I can be in another country just as quickly. I can go to the moon if I see fit. I can be in the present, future or the past. It’s my choice.
5. I write because of “the dream”.

Sheryl Griffin:

1. Writing has been therapeutic for me in my journey towards healing and wholeness
2. Writing inspires me
3. Writing encourages me
4. Writing helps me put and keep things in perspective
5. Writing allows me to let others know they are not alone and there is ALWAYS hope!

Karen Phillips:

1. I write to know my feelings. Each morning that I write in my journal, I write out my feelings, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. (I say “each morning.” I wish I could say every morning, but it doesn’t always happen.) It is amazing how things will make so much sense to me a few weeks or months later when I go back and read my “feeling checks.”
2. I write for variety and learning new things. I have finally realized the vast assortment of jobs I’ve had in my life—from a teenager putting together firework packages to sell on the 4th of July, to a typesetter for a weekly newspaper, to retail shoe sales manager, to a warranty administrator for a car dealership, to a reporter for a legislative calendar, to a data collector for retail market research—I don’t like doing the same thing over and over again. Writing fiction involves learning; there’s a lot of variety in that process.
3. I write to organize and analyze my thoughts. My mind actually doesn’t compartmentalize things very well. I have to have time to sort and figure and think. My thinking is usually done with a pen and a notebook.
4. I write for enjoyment. I am having a blast at the moment trying to develop characters for my book. There’s a lot of my own experience that is going into some of these characters.
5. I write to pray and meditate and make gratitude lists. It goes like this:
Dear God,
Thank you for today and all that You have planned for me.
Thank You for the people that you have put in my life, the family I was born into and the friends (and family) who You allowed me to choose.
Thank You for having faith in me when my faith is almost non-existent.
Thank You for giving me a talent to write that I shamelessly disparage by thinking I can’t write.
Thank You loving me, for giving me strength and courage and freedom.
Amen & Awomen

Bryce Martin:

1. I never cared for putting puzzles together as a child. In writing, however, I always look at any long (in words) project as an interesting puzzle. The pieces are all there, somewhere, I just need to put them together.
2. I like it in the end when I am finished and I surprise myself. "Did I do that?"
3. I have thought of myself as a writer for so long, I continue doing it, to prove - perhaps - that I really am.
4. I like the self-satisfaction. Even in praise, I know that no one truly cares or not except myself.
5. I like seeing the cleanness, the neatness of the printed words on white cuts of paper, words and meaning that came from me.

Jesse Cunningham:

1. Because I like it
2. Because I have so many stories in my head screaming to be let out!
3. Because it is fulfilling
4. Because it satisfies my creative need
5. Last but not least, because I must

Heather Clift:

1. I am able to unclog the traffic in my brain.
2. It's form of escapism.
3. I can express my thoughts more easily with written words rather than spoken.
4. It's one creative element I feel like I can do well. I can't literally draw or paint or sew, but with words, I can figuratively do all of those things.
5. There are a group of people that are interested in what I have to write and inspire me to continue to do so.

Alan Hooper:

1. To fill in the time when I'm not playing golf.
2. To keep me busy when it's time to rearrange my sock drawer.
3. To fill in the time between sleeping and napping.
4. To give my brain a workout when I'm not watching Jeopardy.
5. To give my brain a rest when I'm sleeping, if I don't I'm awake all night plotting plots.

Cece Dockins:

No one chooses this profession, I was called. I have to write.

Ed Chinn:

1. That is how I translate my personal mission from Heaven to earth.
2. Writing is a portal to various communities (including the wonderful LWC).
3. That is who I am.
4. Writing is my own personal safe place.
5. That is how I pay our bills and spread food and wine upon our table.

Karen Aldridge:

1. Living in a fantasy world is a lot more fun than living in the real world most of the time. I can do things on paper I can't - or at least shouldn't - do in real life.
2. Hanging out with moody writers is a lot more fun than working in hospital administration with moody, opinionated coworkers who want to unveil the newest employee improvement program and physician satisfaction survey and patient risk-deterrent tool - all in the middle of a hospital accreditation (JCAHO) survey and next year's budget planning deadline. *cough* *gag* - sorry, I think I just hacked up some stomach acid.
3. I want to buy a vacation cabin in the mountains AND a vacation cottage on the beach - great big ones.
4. I don't mind pitching a tent if number three never pans out.
5. I have a really loud brain, and writing releases some of the noise pressure.

Jennifer Ballard:

1. Because I can't NOT write. I have lots of stories and characters in my head and it's a small place. If I don't get them out I can't think of anything else.
2. I love to read and want to share my own stories with others who might enjoy them.
3. For the money and fame.
5. Because I prefer working with words. I'm not good with numbers.

Ron Billmyer:

1. When I was a little boy, I lived in Germany as a dependent of an Army dad. I attended the dependent school with all of the other Army brats. I was in second through fourth grade during the three years we were in Germany. I remember vividly one teacher who spoke with a slight German accent. I was born left-handed and naturally favored that hand when writing school assignments. I don’t know whether it was her mission as a former follower of Hitler, or whether she just wanted to change the world, but she decided that I would not be allowed to write left-handed. I can still remember her standing beside my desk, smacking my hand with a ruler every time I tried to write with my left hand. It did not take long, before I hated writing and everything associated with it. Thank God, when I was 11 years old we moved to California, where as a sixth grader I had a teacher who made us memorize a verse that said: “A little learning is a dangerous thing, drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring?” by Alexander Pope. That verse has stayed with me for all these years, and has convinced me over time to love writing.
2. So now, entering my antiquity of life, I have a computer with Dragon, which allows me to write at about 350 words per minute without getting my left hand smacked with a ruler. Dragon takes the dread out of scribbling or typing on a keyboard.
3. I write because my mind is not the steel trap it used to be. I want to be able to organize and preserve the adventures I had while flying and spending over 30 years with the Air Force.
4. After I retired from the Air Force, I went to work as a government lawyer writing Social Security disability decisions for administrative law judges. The actual writing of these cases was interesting because they involved people of every stripe and situation. The actual technical writing was focused on mass production,” …..crank those cases out.” The silver lining to the job was that I was introduced to Dragon, which increased my capacity to complete the cases by at least 50% and also took the drudgery out of manuscript writing.
5. I also write because I enjoy documenting the awesome beauty of the powerful storms I was blessed to fly (5000 hours and 153 hurricane penetrations) during 10 years in weather reconnaissance.

Trisha Petty:

1. Through the life of writing I can tell my side of a story, my insight of political views, legal issues, controversy - that in a party setting I would never be able to discuss openly. But through the characters in my stories-there are no holds barred. It’s as if people accept my views from a character, they would never agree to, if they spoke to me. In Scryer a book about a woman who can see future events in a pane of glass, a pool of ink – or blood, Renee can see the things to come but she can’t alter them. The killers who are stalking her belong to a cult who transfers psychic powers of their victims to themselves. If you read the book and see the Church of Scientology in the background you get the idea on how I take issue which bothered me, twisting them into a story. At a time in our hometown that if you spoke badly about the Scientologists it would be very risky, I got to say in a book what everyone was thinking and well--- got away with it!
2. To write for me is not only getting my issues on paper, but to tell stories that will be gone when I am gone. My class “Writing for the Generations” is encouraging people - whether they are writers or not - to tell the story of their past. The reason why THAT Christmas ornament must be on the tree and where did I get that ugly thing anyway? The reason we STILL have that chipped coffee cup. How we met our spouse and why did we divorce them?
3. To tell these stories to my daughter and grandchildren - I can’t tell them how I felt when I first held them the day they were born. I can share with them of their parents dating and how it made me feel, and now that they are dating, why their parents are putting down the rules they do. I can broach topics that are uncomfortable to speak of. Through pen to paper (or inkjet ink on paper) I can tell my daughter why her father and I split up. Why we made the choices we did. I can tell my daughter and her children of my rape as a toddler and why I am the way I am.
4. Writing is my therapy. Writing is a safe haven to go visit uncomfortable memories. Writing brings back the joys in my life.
5. Writing lets me tell people off, people I love them, people that I care.
5b. Writing is my life… this is why I write.

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