As Charles Bukowski once said about writing:
if it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it.
Too true. Bottom line about why I write? Because not writing would make me explode. And no one wants that. Least of all me. Here are the top four reasons why I put pen to paper.
I tend to forget most things right after they happen, if not soon after. I’m not sure why this is, and I certainly don’t mean to, but this is mostly why I write. Non-fiction, the tales of travel and moments of joy the world has bestowed upon me, are written down so I never forget, at least not on paper.
Perhaps it was a spark-filled lusty Eastern-European adventure that lasted 4 days, a moment, or an evening. Perhaps it was the pages you wrote on making eye contact with the most beautiful Swedish person ever while transferring trains. Those moments, no matter how small, or how they ended, are worth reliving. For, regardless of how these things concluded (tears, heartache, marriage, etc.), for a split second and shred of time, there was excitement and happiness worth reliving.
There are times when one gets home, or moves on from somewhere and feels demotivated. Stagnant. Listless. These are the times to re-read the memories, the stories, the happenings of a brief moment of time that was meant to happen. The memories are a part of you whether you remember them or not, and re-reading can help one thirst for more journeys, no matter how close to or far from home.
On an amazing and transformational journey to the Balkans in 2007, I kept track of everything. Every place I went, person I met, food I tasted. It was an in-depth account of mouth-watering tales and adventures. After the Balkans, I traveled to France for a hot minute on my way home. And there my journal was stolen along with the contents of a backpack left in a hotel room. When I reported it to the French police, sobbing and sopping wet from the rain (and tears), they seemed more interested in the lost cell phone (flip phone, not important) than my journal, which was all I wanted back. Then, after taking my statement, the policeman leaned over to ask if “you have boyfriend?”. I answered “What? uhh..no?” to which he replied, “because your eyes…are beautiful when you cry.” He then slammed his notebook closed, stood up, and said “goodbye…and good riddance!”. Needless to say, I never saw that journal again.
Now, I use human journals. Letters to friends that, yes, may be lost in the mail, but I diversify my stories to various recipients so nothing will be fully lost forever. It also gives me a reason to get together with friends so they can tell me all the things I’ve instantly forgotten about. The little things. Like feeding a Moldovan bus stop puppy string cheese at 4am. Or how a Japanese transvestite explained that parasols work and my skin was too white not to take care of properly.
when it is truly time, and if you have been chosen, it will do it by itself and it will keep on doing it until you die or it dies in you. there is no other way. and there never was.