Being instead of doing

Dec 9, 2009 | Opinions

Much as I don’t like to cast myself as the tormented artist, it seems that that is sometimes my fate. To suffer for one’s art implies that you deny yourself in some way – avoiding people, spending money you don’t have, breaking relationships – but the reverse is just as likely to be true, and that is the situation I find myself in.

Writers are driven to write for various reasons. I’ve found that lately I write because the world is tormenting me; the threads of my own life become unravelled, despite my best efforts to stop them, and so sinking into the narrative of the Novel is escapism at its finest. It’s also leading me to question myself, and my ambition of becoming a published author.

I believe, as I always have, that I was born to taleweave. Clich├ęd it may be; the world is littered with the remains of those who believed something similar, and they never made it. But I can’t define my success or failure by whether I make it as an author, because I asked myself the hardest question: if there were no hope, no chance of ever being published or of living from my writing, would I still write?

The answer is yes. I would write even if I lost both arms. I would write even if every day my work was taken and burned in front of me. It’s so simple, so obvious. It’s the difference between being and doing.

I have a job, and it is a thing that I do because I am paid to do it. But writing is not what I do; it is what I am, in the bedrock of my soul, because the need and desire to tell stories is as much a part of me as my own name; so much so that I can’t imagine a world where I am not a storyteller.

So what then? I will write even if no one will ever read it, and I judge my success or failure on whether I can look over my work and be happy that the result of my taleweaving is the best that I can do. Even this blog is a part of that.