I’ve written about this plenty of times before, but it’s continuous anyway. I keep coming up with more reasons to give myself. But I suppose that’s a good thing. You need that sometimes.
Why I write:
To say something. It should be obvious, but you’re surprised by how much you have to remind yourself. You slap down words because there’s something stuck in between your ears: a character, a conversation, a concrete image of sorts. It’s the hard “k” sounds that push themselves in when you’re busy trying to listen to some other music. They cut into you like a thorn and you try to pull them out. It’s cacophony building its way up.
To pray. You don’t believe in a god anymore, but you can’t think of anything more close to the divine and the act of meditation than creating things yourself. It’s ritual, it’s demanding answers from the void. You were once a Catholic, but now you suppose you’re an artist. You wonder if people think you’re more damaged and more ashamed now, ironically, or more helpless.
To kill. You light up the bottle or pull the pin and throw it at the mustached kid’s car. Just like a fist. As the fire flickers, you remember: That one kid who wore his pants down low and asked about your sexual orientation every other day during high school. You kick the giraffe in the testes when he sees your destruction and he wilts like a pansy (you come up with this pun, just like that, and you actually say it to him on your way out).
To heal. You knock on her door and ask her to tell you about the car crash. She finally tells you about what he did, how he hit more than you suspected. How he was exciting, his car flying on the highway and the two of you without seatbelts holding you down, screaming at the night. But she was done. Rolling her eyes, she says she’s done. He was gone and gone for a while now, and she was going to be a phlebotomist. I’m not so squeamish anymore, she says, and apologizes. She’s missed you, and it’s her fault. She wrote to you first, unexpectedly, and that was why you were here. You’d been waiting.
To listen. Your mother tells you about her aunt who believed her husband came back as a cat. Your friend tells you about her first kiss on an airplane with a stranger who read Hemingway. You should be writing this down, she says, and you nod. Your professor tells you how your essay was perfect and she gasps when you tell her you won a short story contest. Everyone else tells you to become a psychologist because you know how to sit still and you remember the right things for them, in the right order. You entertain the idea, but you conclude that you’d rather write about people’s problems than actually deal with the people and the problems themselves.