Why Do We Write?

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Why do we write?

 

What human need does writing fulfill? From the caveman drawings in France to the Dead Sea Scrolls to Thomas Jefferson’s Federalist Papers why does this species feel the need to write? To express ourselves not by human auditory voice, but by symbols carefully crafted to imitate and represent our human emotion.

 

Like all writers I have moments of clarity when I sit down at my computer or writing pad and the words just flow. It’s as if I’m not the real author, but some mystical being has taken over my hands and I am channeling his/her song.

 

Recently I have been working on a book, part memoir – part self help book that began from a repeated phrase from friends, “You should write a book.” I’m not sure where they got the idea that my life or my thoughts would be any more interesting than theirs or any other Gay-Male-FormerlyMarried-Grandfather-Husband-Jewish-TallSkinnyGuy on the Planet.

 

So the title of the book is “Muscles Money and Mayhem: How I Found the Good Life, a great Husband, and Peace.” Observations and musings of living as a gay man in South Florida probably won’t make the NY Times best seller list, but it does fill some sort of need, probably the same one that caveman in France felt when he scratched his musings on the wall.

 

So to continue with the thread of Why do We Write; I’ll throw in some basic human needs and let the gentle reader see where they fit in.

 

6 Human Needs

 

CERTAINTY

VARIETY

SIGNIFICANCE

CONNECTION/LOVE

GROWTH

CONTRIBUTION

 

When I look at this list, I immediately think of where you are in your life right now makes all the difference in your needs. To younger people, Love and Growth take center stage and you burst out into the world as a unique individual. You find a partner, establish a career and all the while take so many of your needs for granted. Towards the end of your life both Certainty and Significance come out of the shadows and the joy of accomplishment or the pain of regret fuels our last days.

 

Moving away from the morbid. I showed a friend these six needs and he said, “Damn, that’s why Facebook is so popular. It fulfills all the needs in about 5 minutes. I laughed. But then I realized he was right.

 

I wonder if that caveman is pissed right now.

 

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