“The writer isn’t made in a vacuum. Writers are witnesses.” ~E.L. Doctorow
Truer words have ne’er been spoken. Seriously, though, writers don’t just write for the pleasure of it. So often we are compelled to speak, by time, and circumstance, and this endless need to fill a black hole inside of ourselves. What compels us are our everyday lives, though many of us don’t write specifically about those everyday lives.
We write science fiction, fantasy, horror, ways to escape that world for the amount of time it takes us to get our thoughts out. But we aren’t escaping as much as we are creatively chronicling those times, those experiences.
For every character who goes to Mars there is a little boy living with domestic abuse who needs to get away. For every post-apocalyptic love story, there is a woman who needs to escape the mundanity of her relationship. For every “Team Edward” there is someone hoping for change they can believe in.
As writers we feel a need to get across our thoughts, our feelings, OUR WORLD, to others. It’s the first step in what I will always believe is the purest form of communication possible. That relationship between a writer and a reader, sent through the lens of personal experience, there is just absolutely nothing else like it in life.
No, we aren’t made in a vacuum. We are uniquely aware of the world around us, as writers. We witness the world around us, and we paint it using our words, using our creativity, using the tools we were best made to wield. We feel the fears, taste the joys, fall hard, then get back up again, like so many characters we’ve written over the years.
We give back what the world takes from us, we take what the world gives us and we turn it into gold, or iron, or coal, whichever suits our mood at the moment. It’s a gift and a curse because we have to relive everything in order to get it down, but once it’s down it’s a type of baptism.
We can move on, and yet the conversation continues. Because of our words. That’s a power we cannot afford to take for granted.
I hope I never do.