Usually, when I come out of the closet as a writer, the first question I get is, "Why do you write?" Even those four words create an itch to start writing. A challenge to figure out the answer in a poetic, meaningful way. I will admit, I still feel like a fraud calling myself a writer, but the truth is, if you write, you are a writer. Right? Write?
For me, writing is a soothing, calming process. Whether it's a poem that I'm spilling my guts to, or a fictional story that carries me out of myself, writing is a balm to what ails me most of the time. A pleasant distraction when I need to regroup and shut down the noise in my head. Or, fight off the numbing dullness of a day. Being in charge of a little world I create is comforting and fun. My characters do what I want them to do, with no nasty surprises (most of the time). Yes, I would love to write for the entertainment of others, but until then, I write to entertain myself.
Writing has also prompted me to read the works of others. Things I wouldn't have found otherwise. To really focus on what is being said and what it means to me has enriched my life. Some of the things I've read, especially poetry, is "knock me on my ass" powerful. Words can be life-changing. A new perspective on life, if only for a day or two, is exhilarating. Reading that others feel much the same way I do about the messiness of life makes me feel less alone. More normal, whatever that may be, really. To see the mundane through new eyes makes a day so much more enjoyable. Mindless scurrying about stops. Time slows down and offers itself up to you. The worn and shabby things in life take on a "beautiful patina", and just plain old becomes "vintage". Shopworn becomes an antique. Irritation with flaws fades away, as you realize that even flaws have a history that is sometimes beautiful and inspiring. Nothing is perfect, accept the flaws. Embrace them. Find the beauty in each one. See? Irritation fading already.
Noticing the beauty of everyday things to try and paint a picture of them with beautiful, thought out words nurtures an appreciation and deeper gratitude for what's in my life. It's all about how you look at things. The worn out couch that aggravates me with the sagging cushions and cat scratches on the back of it becomes a comforting monument to all the moments family spent together watching movies that made us laugh and cry. Sharing feelings, living our moments together. Frequent cozy naps curled up on a Sunday afternoon that, unfortunately, left tell-tale permanent butt marks in the center. Children grow up, change. Leave. That lumpy couch remains the same. A steady constant in an ever-changing world. Knowing some day that Bebe, the cat, who has claimed the far corner of the back of the couch as her personal space will someday no longer be with us. That thought gives me patience when I want to scream at those ugly scratch marks that is her calling card. After she's gone, that couch with her scratches will still be here. I will someday treasure those scratch marks that today irritate the hell out of me. A steady constant in my life. Grounding me to what I have in my life at this moment that I want to hold on to forever, but can not. Reflection leads to a renewed appreciation. That, to me, is the point. That is why I write.