by Janet Lane
On the heels of yesterday’s post about finding inspiration, Julie Kibler posted an interesting blog today, asking the question, “Why do you write?”
A dear friend of mine, Joya Wonderlight, taught piano to my daughters for many years. Joya is a gifted musician and teacher, with special enthusiasm for children. She posted a plaque on her wall that said, “Use the talents you possess – for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except for the best.” …Henry Van Dyke
Another quote about birds, an unattributed Chinese proverb, says, “A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”
The concepts behind these two quotes are why I write. Writing enriches our lives. I marvel often at the difference between oral and written communication. Both are vital. Both can inform and inspire and solve problems. Both can confuse and isolate as easily as they can clarify and unite.
The thoughtful reflection and permanence of the written word fascinates me. It could be argued that whatever the medium, words can be destroyed. CDs and iPods can melt; digital records can be scrambled with magnetic fields; books, God forbid, can be burned. Generally speaking, however, with the advent of Gutenberg’s printing press and other media mass production, the written word survives long after a conversation has been shared.
Which birds sing the very best? That’s a subjective question. Each person’s voice and message is unique and who among us would want to silence the forest? Because I so love the music, I must join the chorus.
The other reason I write is because, in addition to being a challenging, sometimes hair-pulling experience as I try to develop a story and deliver it somewhat intact from my heart to the page, writing is a form of self-discovery. I have learned much about my hopes and dreams by creating and following my characters’ desires. We don’t need to always have an answer. We sing because we have a song.
Why do you write?