Writing, for me, is unlike any other form of art in that its mode — words — are able to uniquely capture the complex human spirit through piercing precision, a precision that is as necessarily artistic as it is intellectual. What I find most fulfilling about this process is the building of sentences, of distilling my thoughts through expressive diction and resonant rhythms. I love how responsible every word, line, sound, and image must be in working towards shaping the identity of the piece. I write first and foremost because it is, almost, inexplicably compulsive; there is a pull to make sense of my surroundings, to observe and discuss, to question and affirm, through only the most precise language. There is a pull to arrange both the clear and the confusing into essays, stories, and reflections, because that is simply how I come to perceive and harmonize life’s many nuances. And writing is of course more than simply clarifying; writing is a canvas for thought, open and willing. Writing is creative; through informing voice and style, it does whatever it needs to do to make its point, and make both the reader and writer feel. Writing is beauty; writing is perspective.
Writing would not be the same without its readers. While I can admit that the line-by-line creation is what stirs me most, I know that the effect, the anticipated response, is just as great a motive. Connecting with others by way of language makes the art — your vision — come to life. But writing is much more than that; it serves an even greater purpose. Good writing also brings people to life. I write in part because I know how it feels to be the stunned reader; more than anything, I want to master my voice in such a way that enables that experience in others. Writing is a loaded, multivalent thing that, at once, stirs emotions, and activates the mind in a way that does change lives.
What drives me to write is knowing how much of an impulse it is. While I remember being struck by writers like Mary Shelley and Kate Chopin as a teenager, I am more so struck by my drive as a child. While as a child I was like any other — drawing on walls, finger painting at recess — I was also deeply invested in making people feel a certain way through art. I got a lot of pleasure out of seeing their reactions. Only looking back am I really able to see that this truly was a need.
One memory that springs to mind is when I was in first or second grade, six or seven years old. My three little sisters and I would always draw together, sometimes on the living room floor, other times under the roof of our shared bunk bed. We would make up stories, illustrating our narratives as we went along. These narratives usually revolved around women, their thoughts, their feelings. In one particular episode, I remember drawing a mother and her daughter. I remember how my sisters leaned in as I told the story, how together the mother and daughter went to school, the park, and other places about town. A very simple narrative of love and kinship. One day I had the mother die abruptly in a car crash. There was very little plot, very little build-up. I just made the death happen, leaving the daughter all alone and devastated. I did this because I wanted to make my sisters feel. And, while I did not want to hurt my audience, I did feel a strange satisfaction in seeing one sister put her face in her hands to cry.