Why the Writer Journey
I want to share with you why I chose the writer journey. (Or it chose me) As the cliché says, nothing good comes easy. Everyone who writes knows this to be true.
Why would any of us do it? To any rational human it makes no sense. Years of notes on scraps of paper jotted down after sudden flashes of insight in dreams, multiple revisions and rejections followed by small hints of encouragement; most of the writer gig tosses your heart out to the world to see how many folks might stomp on it.
But yet we persist. Why? It can’t be for money. If you want to make money, I advise you start a new bluegrass band, pick up cans on the side of the road, or play the lottery, but for Heaven’s sake, don’t be a writer.
I think we write from a compulsion to try to make sense out of a world gone half crazy. We persist because we think we might discover the truth. Our hearts won’t let us abandon the search. We write because we see the wicked become wealthy by the exploitation of the humble and can’t stand for it to go undocumented. We write to try to figure our own selves out. Maybe if we write tens of thousands of words a few hundred will stand out as memorable and our grandchildren might remember us by them. True immortality is in Heaven, but through art perhaps we can secure some tiny toehold of it here on Earth. We write because we have to.
My mom was an English teacher. She taught me to love books, and took me to the library every week. She put me in a speed reading course when I wanted to play baseball. It saved my life. I never could hit Hog’s fastball. I was a lot better with books.
My dad was a country doctor. I made house calls with him back when we only had three antibiotics. I was a smart but not brilliant kid, and both my parents thought I’d make a good doctor. They only had one reservation. I hate to tell you this ‘cause it sounds so sappy, but they worried I might be too sensitive. If one of the song birds died in the yard I was the type of kid of kid who would organize a funeral for it.
After I became a doctor I saw much pain and suffering and a lot of injustice too. Sometimes it was all I could do to deal with it. Several times people told me I was different, and I needed to write a book. I recalled the words of Jerry Clower, “If you hear it three times, it’s scripture.”
I saved notes. At first I asked why, and the only answer was “It will be revealed in time.” I waited. I stored thoughts in my computer. Years went by. Over time the reasons emerged. I began to write more.
One time a patient complained about my music. “Young man,” she said. “I like your doctoring alright, but I wish you wouldn’t play in that old band.”
“Ma’am,” I replied. “I’m under a lot of stress in my work and I’m either gonna play in that band or take up drinking. You’re gonna have to make a choice.”
I feel the same way about my efforts as a writer. I realize not everyone will like what I write. I know many will say I am too simple. I am unconcerned. My daughter says, “Daddy, you’re so simple you’re complicated to people.”
I like that. If most of the world doesn’t understand I can live with it. At least my people get me. More important, by writing I came to understand myself better, and was able to articulate that insight via the written word. I hope it might help some other soul’s personal journey. With my blog I have found people around the world who also search for the truth through art. You can’t have too many friends like that. I’m thankful for every one of ‘em. Maybe I’m just too simple, but if that proves to be the only reason for my writer journey that’s good enough for me.
Over my next few posts, I plan to share more with you about my writer journey and how my book came about. I figure if a country doc like me can get published there’s hope for all of us, and y’all might enjoy the saga.
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