My TARDIS, My Teacher, My Voice
Why? Why? Dear God, why?
An author-friend recently told me how a friend of his had decided to give writing a try. Jokingly, he’d responded: “Because your life isn’t filled with enough solitude and rejection?”
This morning as I sat down to write this post, an email popped up on my screen. Another rejection from a literary journal where I’d submitted a story.
Why do we do this writing thing? Why do we choose to pass up social engagements to sit at our desks and pour our hearts on the page only to then have those words ignored and rejected?
You’re going to have to find your own answer to this question. But I can share with you what I’ve found in my soul-searching.
1. Writing is my TARDIS.
The Doctor travels through time and space in his blue phone box. I travel through time and space through my writing. It’s not as flashy and doesn’t make that same whooshing sound, but still. Aliens? Sure. Vikings? Why not? Anywhere or anywhen I want go, I just pick up my pen. No rules, just words.
2. Writing is my teacher.
Writing a story, for me, is like creating a sculpture from materials of my life. My worldview, my passions, my observations, my opinions, my knowledge, my ignorances…they all get mixed into whatever it is I’m writing. It’s a process of self-discovery.
Submitting a story, then, is like putting that sculpture through its annealing process. And likewise, myself through a purification and toughening. Waiting is hard. Rejection hurts. But both make me (and my story) stronger as a result. Both help me (and my story) get to the next level in the creative journey.
3. Writing is my voice.
I don’t know how to explain this one very well; so I’m going to cheat and borrow Ariel Gore‘s words from her book How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead instead, because she explains it so brilliantly.
“You have a unique and delicious genius to share. You see this vibrant and vulnerable planet in your own strange way. You draw connections that make you wonder if you’ve lost your mind. Your fears are specific, and alien to me. We’re human kin, you and me and [Haruki] Murakami—when we dig deep enough into our own individual wells, we reach the same universal stream—but the places we’re digging from, they’re different.”