[Editor’s Note: This piece was written when I was 22 years-old, shortly after I had first started taking writing seriously. Thankfully I’m no longer surrounded by people who ask the opening question you’ll read below, though I still find it an interesting look back…]
This seems to be the golden question on everyone’s minds when they get wind that I’m a writer and although more often than not, the question is asked mostly with sarcastic intent – “Why would you want to waste your time writing, of all things?!” – I’ve always taken the question to heart, even if a well thought-out answer isn’t expected or even desired. Some simply ask out of curiosity about an unknown field to them, others out of confusion because they just couldn’t imagine even reading a book or article that wasn’t required by a teacher or employer, much less writing one! I’ll admit it – I’ve even asked the question myself many a time, mostly after sitting around for several evenings in a row, trying to find a topic for my next column, and then I remember…
I write because simply put, it’s what I do.
I write because I love to entertain people and make them laugh…because I’ve learned enough to know that I certainly can’t sing karaoke! Some of the funniest conversations I’ve ever had are the ones that I have in my head, and it just seems like a shame to keep all of that to myself. Talking monkeys, castaways on the moon, foreigners – sometimes people think that I’m crazy, but then again, a lot of them thought that Walt Disney and Ray Bradbury were crazy, too…and they were, mind you, but being crazy doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with thinking outside the norm because let’s face it – creativity is far from normal. Case in point: who lives in a pineapple under the sea?!
I also write because it helps me to deal with the more serious parts of life – even though nobody is listening right now, there’s always a chance that they will someday and often times that’s enough for me. It’s how I’ve found that I best cope with things. Most of the time when we need to grieve, we’re not really looking for feedback from the other person anyways, we just want to know that somebody’s there and that they’re listening. And that’s the beauty of the Internet right there – it may be three o’clock in the morning while I’m at home sleeping in bed, but somewhere else on the other side of the world could be another person who happens to be reading something I wrote about censorship or terrorism. It helps me to be able to get out what I’m feeling, which in turn could eventually help somebody else by proving that they’re not alone with their thoughts, and that certainly helps me to sleep a little better at night!
I even write simply because it’s fun for me to do. Whether I’m jotting down ideas for an upcoming book or even just a new humor column about deep fried beets, writing is a hobby that I can enjoy pretty much anytime, anywhere, and I can get as deep into it as I want to go. I remember a time when I used to keep a notebook full of nothing but titles that I thought would be funny – I eventually started turning my favorites into mini-columns to share with my friends and family, and thus were the early days of my humor column. Now I’ve pushed the envelope a bit farther, constructed a couple of websites to promote my work, and even gotten myself published, and who’s to say that it stops here?!
I could really go on and on – I write because it’s a job that I can make some very good money at, all the while working in my underwear; I write because it can be quite the interesting conversation maker with the ladies; I write because my high school guidance counselor always told me that I’d make an excellent auto mechanic. Ask any Major League Baseball player why they play ball or any rock star why they sing and no doubt they’ll give you the same answer in a heartbeat – “When it all comes down to it, it’s just something that I really love to do, and I wouldn’t feel right doing anything else.”
That’s why I write…