Monday, October 3, 2016

Writing as compulsion

    Writing is a compulsion for me, but where does that force within come from, I wonder. I’ve never tried to explain it before, but perhaps it stems from reading. Librarians and teachers of literacy often express a desire for youngsters to “discover the joys of reading”. I’m guessing that joy of reading is behind my urge to write. 

An adventure into another world.
     It is not a desire to recreate the great writers (as if) but to recreate the feeling reading those writers gave me, of entering a different world, a subconscious world, an imaginary world . From those earliest days of my own literacy, I was able to enter other lives, whether it be from the simple story lines and characters of school books to my mother’s magazines which seemed always to feature stories about exotic lives lived on tea plantations in Ceylon or India. Reading was mind expanding and other worldly. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, read as a child in Australia, opened a door to the world that has never been shut, as did Heidi, the story of the little girl who lives with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. 

The Swiss mountains were a long
way from the Australian bush.

     In retrospect, the revelation of the inner lives of those and other characters, had a profound impact and influences the way I write and what I write about.
     Then there is inspiration. When I first read Faulkner’s, The Sound and the Fury, I remember closing the last page and thinking, wow, how did he do that. It was one of those profoundly moving novels that imprint themselves on the psyche; long after you have forgotten the plot details, you remember that moment of revelation; this writer is different to everyone I have read before. I think it inspired me in many ways to want to be a writer. Not so much to “write” like Faulkner, but to recreate the moment. It’s hard to explain.
     Writers come fairly quickly to the realisation they will not reach parity with the great writers of literature, but that does not stop them persisting, perhaps in a desire to find “the moment” or in an attempt to clarify their thoughts. As Faulkner said, ”I never know what I think about something until I read what I’ve written on it.”

This post was first published at http://booksbywomen.org/writing-as-compulsion/



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