"I'm thinking about writing a book," a friend announced. She's an intelligent, accomplished woman that is my age. As the gathering reacted with smiles and questions, she continued, "What to you guys think? Should I do it?"
Staying back, remaining quiet, I thought, Huh?
Maybe I've just never encountered this sort of writer before but the writing people I know started writing without asking the question. They love words and stories and putting all their golden thoughts and bejeweled words down on paper or out in the ether so that others can make noises about the genuis we are as writers.
Well, no, most of us don't think we're genuises as writers. Most of us seem driven and gnawed - but we write. We don't ask our friends or enemies if we should. We don't conduct polls about everyone's opinion about whether it should be pursued. We find a corner and a pen. Sometimes we use crayons and an old notebook. Number two pencils. Anything that can be used. Sometimes we use an old computer or a new one. We gather up thoughts and ideas and harvest them like others reap grains and vegetables.
I had no clue how to write when I first wrote. I figured I'd learn as I go so I had an idea and wrote an essay about shaving. Another followed about making coffee, then there were extrapolations of dreams made into short stories for my entertainment.
If you want to write, you write. We write through physical and emotional pain, in darkness and sunlight. We write as others speak, we write as we read books and watch movies, walk, bicycle, kayak and work. We stare at screens and paper, awaiting the words' arrival. We do it in secret, in private, in public, in classes and gatherings, in groups and gaggles, in bars, airports and aircraft, in coffee shops and restaurants, bedrooms and offices, living rooms, patios, and porches. We write scenes, poetry, observations, songs, stories, essays, posts, letters, articles, novels, books and opinions. We do it alone when no one is aware of where we are, where we lose track of who we are.
We write. We get angry, hungry, frustrated when we can't.
"What do you think, Michael?" the aspiring writer asked.
I smiled at her. "I'd go for it."
She's the only one she should ask. She's the only one who can answer.
Really, if she's a writer, there isn't a question.
She will write.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com