Have you ever felt defined by one characteristic? The world sees just one facet of your personality and latches onto it with zero compunction. Maybe people only see the dark side of your persona, or maybe they assume something about yourself based on a quick first impression and never take the time to truly get to know you.
My whole life I have been called Nice. Kind. Sweet. I know, I know. I could be called “Witchy” with a capital “B.” I am very proud that in the limited time people talk to me, they come away with the impression that I am compassionate. I must be doing something right. But, kindness is not all I am, and I often feel no one gets past that side of me. I would love someone just once to walk away from a conversation with me thinking, “Wow, she’s smart.” Or “Wow, she’s funny.”
I worked at a certain middle school for four years. Every year the school would celebrate Teacher’s Appreciation Week by having the students write thoughtful things about their teacher. My students always wrote I was Nice. Kind. Caring. The teacher across the hall got long love letters listing her many attributes (which were all true), but I got kids unwilling to go beyond the surface to know the real me. Yes, they knew I was sweet, but did they see I was witty, or intelligent, or a little bit cray-cray?
So where am I going with this? Let’s use my two favorite actors as an illustration. David Tennant and Tom Hiddleston are, in my opinion, two of Britain’s most talented actors under 50. They have great comedic timing, they can do tragedies, they can give you either ham-fisted histrionics or subtle nuance, and they make Shakespeare’s language come alive. But they are primarily known for the two roles that catapulted them into stardom: David for the Tenth Doctor on Doctor Who and Tom for Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you talk to either of them about those roles, they will express their gratitude for what these roles did for their careers. They attend Comic Con after Comic Con so that their myriad of fans can gush over these specific roles. But at the end of the day, I’m sure neither of them want to only be remembered for these performances. (I know for a fact Tom doesn’t. He said so in an interview). These roles are just one aspect of their acting ability. It would be unfair to judge their work for this one character alone, especially if you don’t like that role. Then you’re judging a man’s entire body of work based on one performance.
I guess through that lengthy, slightly lugubrious introduction, I’m trying to explain one of the reasons I love writing. All of my many facets get to shine on display through my characters and narration. I can entertain you with my snarky wit. I can dazzle you with profound observations. I can encourage you to think and respond viscerally with a clever turn of phrase. Everything that is inherently me gets poured into my manuscripts. I have a voice, a voice that can choose to move you to tears, or offer you encouragement. A voice that can entertain or educate. And it’s all there in those pages.
Sure, you can also get to know me the normal way, too. Conversation can be as equally cathartic as a good read. In my final year of teaching at that school I had a great group of students who really clicked with me, and I got some more specific compliments that year for Teacher Appreciation Week, which goes to prove that you can get to know someone if you try.
But if you’re looking for a good place to start to get to know me, begin with my writing. It’s a reflection of my mind and soul. Happy Reading!
One thought on “Why I Write”
Do you see yourself through the eyes of others? Is the “real you” only visible externally?
I know we want men to look at our face and not our chest, but neither is more than a shadow.
And – be honest now – but do you really know everything about your own self?
I surprise myself the more I look deeper. Living in this body, with this mind, on a bed of memories, there is always more to find. It just needs someone to show me the path and I can walk it for myself.
The Oracle at Delphi had a motto of “Know Thyself”. The priestly interpreters would take her ravings, issue a platitude to the petitioner who had spent time and wealth and effort for a brief audience, and they would find some gold in the trite words. And tell all their friends.
The true wisdom and delight lay within. They had merely to care enough to look.