Literary agent to John Grisham, David Gernert encourages writers to “write well, and to write as much as you can,” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers (http://www.pw.org/). However, the rest of the article is littered with the reality of what it means to be an editor, publisher, or writer in this day and age.
“Just pray that Barnes & Noble stays healthy,” Gernert claims. Yikes.
In another part of the magazine, wife and mother Jamie Quatro shares her life story in, “What It Takes: The Messy, Beautiful Business of Being a Writer Parent,” another scary look into the realities of living your life in a profession such as this. This, though. This scary, frightening, nerve-wracking, rewarding, beautiful, breath-taking profession. This is writing. This is life. Richard Smolev’s article, “Why We Write: Life Seems Inconceivably Rich” nails it perfectly, as he describes his life as a retired attorney living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“But I never truly escape the brutal reality of ALS. As I write, the thick plastic splints on my fingers inevitably touch two keys and not the one at which I’m aiming, or put a space inside a word because I’ve overshot the M or the N. The red lines underlining all my misspellings taunt that I will live out my time as a cripple, returning to a world defined by what I can neither do nor expect to do on my own the moment I say good night to my characters and push my wheelchair away from my desk.”
Smolev has just finished his second novel and has inscribed a book to his newborn grandson, Bode, with whom he is holding on the cover.
“I’ll be dead long before we’ll have a chance to really get to know each other, but whether it’s fifteen or twenty years from now, Bode will be able to look at the picture of the two of us, to hear my voice through what my characters say, and to lose himself in their struggles. I’ll be telling my grandson a story. What more could I ask of life?”
I write because it’s therapeutic. I write because I feel free. I write because I see the words dance across the page, and there is no other happiness. I write because I don’t like who I am when I’m not doing what I love.
Why do you write?