writing in order to write

When I was a boy, maybe 8 or 9 or 10 or so, I came home from school one day and headed right to the typewriter. Hopped up on the chair and curled my feet under me so I could be high enough to see the paper. Started right in typing a story.
Apparently I was so excited about writing this story that I didn’t even bother to stop by the fridge and pick up an apple. Maybe I was working on that novel about my crush on Mary Lueck.
I have my Aunt Lucille to thank for this image. She told me about it yesterday as we were chatting on the phone. I don’t remember it at all, but Aunt Lucille assured me it really happened. I’m glad to know that. It tells me how far back my passion for writing goes. Although I remember writing many hours on that old Underwood, Aunt Lucille captured my eagerness for the game to which I later devoted my career.
I suppose that’s why I’m writing at this very moment. Many people would rather be fishing, crunching numbers at the stock exchange or working on their science text like the Grand Valley students nearby in this campus coffeeshop. Most of my GVSU Life Journey students can’t stand writing. I love it. Why? Who’s to say? It gives me pleasure. I find it interesting. It makes me feel useful. Add whatever you like here.
It also prompts me to notice things. Or maybe I write because I notice things. For instance, the guy I just ran into who is sort of an acquaintance. I said hello and he said hi back, looking at my pocket. I asked him if he was teaching here. No, I work here all the time, 9 to 5 every day, he said, looking at my pocket. Are you teaching communications? he asked, looking at my pocket. No, Life Journey, I said, looking at his eyes. He drifted off with his Starbucks without a word.
Now why did he not look at me directly? I wonder. Is it because he is shy, or because he is fascinated with the white Papermate pen in my pocket, or does have a bit of an issue with me? The last one occurred to me first, of course, me being overly insecure about what others think of me, what I may have done or wrong, etc. It’s a drag to be this way, by the way. Friends of mine go through life never seeming to worry about any of that. I envy them, which is another way of thinking less of myself. During trivia games, I lack the self-confidence to pipe up with the first thing that pops into my mind. I fear being wrong and looking really stupid. But about half the time, it’s the right answer.
Anyway, back to the writing. Did I just write about that encounter with the eyes-on-my-pocket guy because I find it interesting, or just to have something to write about? Or did I notice it to a degree that I feel merits writing about because I am by nature a writer? Why is it that I feel most of the things I write about are worth writing about? Why do I write this, right now, with the confidence that anyone in the world will find it worth reading?
This seems to me an arrogance on the part of those who write. We believe what we write is worth someone else’s time to read. It’s the arrogance of the singer-songwriter sitting alone on stage in a noisy bar. Hey, listen to me! I have something to say! Something you should hear! Why aren’t you listening?
When he was a boy, Jeff Beck made a guitar out of a hunk of wood and some wire. He strapped it to his back and rode around on his bicycle like that. It was just something he wanted to do, without even thinking why. Maybe he had to do it. Maybe Hank Greenberg had to go to the sandlot every day all summer long and swing the bat about 100 times. Maybe some people have it in them to do certain things, and they don’t have much of a choice about it.
Maybe I had to hop up on the chair after school and start banging away on the Underwood. Maybe it was in my nature. Maybe God made me that way. Created me to be a writer, so I could create stories for others to read.
If so, I gladly accept God’s will. I’d much rather be writing than working in the stock exchange. Especially these days.

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4 Responses to writing in order to write

  1. metaforehead says:

    You AREan arrogant mothe*****er! I’v ealways said that.

  2. Charles Honey says:

    You don’t know how much that means to me, metaforehead.

  3. marye flowers says:

    Charles, I enjoyed the river-flow of thought you created. Plan to send it to a friend who writes poetry in Cleveland!

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