What Drives Me To Write

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short essay of why I write.

What Drives Me To Write?

I remember reading Roald Dahl's The BFG and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, and thinking to myself this is what I want to do when I'm older. I want to hypnotize people with my imagination, and scare them! Whenever we passed anywhere that sold books I hounded my mum in to going in and then attempt to guilt her into buying one for me. The first success for this was a copy of Moby Dick. In class when we got to write any story we wanted I would spend all of one less - much to the teacher's annoyance - planning it down to the smallest detail (as much as child can).

Being the only boy in a house full of girls and not really wanting to spend much time with other children, and largely the feeling was mutual, so I spent a lot of time on my own creating stories; sometimes even making the story up as I went while directing a girl in my class as she acted it out.

I was reading at a higher level than others in my class. I loved reading. I loved 'listening' to the words on the page; not to mention I loved showing off how many of the words I knew at the end: their spelling, meaning and pronunciation.

As a boy I did most of my writing in school. Even then I was drawn, irresistibly against my will toward horror stories. At that age it was mostly about having a coping mechanism, and getting a certain amount of attention, even if it was bad, that the teacher didn't like the story. One comment I received on a story I'd written in class at the age of about nine was 'My, what a gory story!'. None of the stories I wrote at school have survived. I assume they were thrown away at some point.

In my teens I flirted with theatre: writing, acting and directing. I wrote a short play called Karma about two guys who accidentally kill an acquaintance, and are then haunted by his ghost seeking revenge, which my English teacher liked. I also tried writing a film script. I think I got one whole act out, and then completely sure it was the worst thing ever written I burnt it on a camp fire while two guys from my year in secondary school went to look for food.

I remember the first English lesson I had at secondary school. The teacher went around the class one by one asking us about ourselves. When it got to me I said that I enjoyed reading, which prompted the question ''What do like reading?", she looked at me with complete disdain when I said horror. I was vindicated later on in the school year though. She set up a competition for us all to write a ghost story. I wrote three stories. When it came to hand in my story I couldn't decide which one I liked best, so handed in all three. I won.

I left writing altogether in my early twenties, and tried my hand at music, playing in a band. A few years later we broke up and I found myself being drawn irresistibly back to writing. It's hard work and often extremely frustrating, and a lot of the time I'm absolutely convinced that I have no talent what-so-ever; but I can't see myself doing anything else. Now I'm a little older I find that this coping mechanism has grown into something more. Involuntarily I use it to look inward and see if I can see myself in there somewhere and hope that I'll like what I see; or even to try and understand things in my life; even to understand my friends on occasion.

What drives me to write? It's really these few things: EGO. NARCISSISM. LOVE OF STORIES.


Submitted: October 30, 2009

© Copyright 2021 John Wyres Smith. All rights reserved.

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