My writing assignment for today (from that book, The Daily Writer) is such an excellent one that I thought it best to do it right away.
It simply asks you to put into words your reasoning for writing. And since I, like Stephen King, tend to discover what I think as I write, I eagerly set upon this task now.
I think I could not adequately describe why I write without first exploring why I read. Reading is most certainly a form of escapism: walking in someones else’ shoes, experiencing another place, and maybe getting a little giddy over some romantic hero/heroine. However, escapism is better served by daydreaming, where you “choose your own adventure.” Most definitely, then, escapism is not the primary reason for my reading obsession.
So…what is? Reading mines the depth of our existence, our actions, our thoughts and feelings. Reading–like a liberal arts education–makes you a well-rounded individual. You experience multiple facets of life–see through a different perspective–not always to escape from your own situations, but to enhance your awareness of others’ situations, and the human condition as a whole. I feel I am most alive when I am engaged in another’s story. I am given the tools to both evaluate myself and to go beyond myself. With every book I pick up, I am taking a class in choice, human nature, circumstance, faith, etc.
Reading, finally, is also entertaining. We love stories — why do you think Jesus used them so much? We embark on an adventure when we hear a story. I prefer the medium of written word for stories, as you are forced to use your imagination to paint the visuals. TV and movies show you exactly what the characters and scenes look and sound like, but reading allows you to bring a piece of yourself to the story. When I read Jane Eyre, for instance, I have a clear image in my head of the way Mr. Rochester looks, speaks, and gestures. I refuse to watch any movie adaption of the book because it will ruin who I, in conjunction with the author, created.
I like to think that I write for the same reason I love to read. I seek to help others explore life at a deeper plane. For the length of time they are reading my works, I hope they find a refuge from their immediate reality, a motivation for living life with others at a higher standard, exciting entertainment, and an outlet for their imagination. I seek to surprise and delight, to thrill, to provoke thought. Most of all, I want the thoughts that God has given me to have a lasting, positive impact on others.
For myself, I write to think. I write to learn. I write to explore and I write to release. Sometimes my writing expeditions lead right back around to myself, but deep, deep inside, where I seldom look. I often think I am my own first convert, drastically affected by the words God is pouring through me. In those moments, I lose myself as I think I am, and see who He made me to be.