Why I Bother


Most writing magazines’ January issues are usually their “inspiration” issues. These issues focus on hippie bullshit that will inspire writing newbs for a month or so before they eventually give up and move on to something easier. And maybe those people are the smart ones. Writing is far from being the easiest of pastimes or passions. It’s often lonely, time-consuming work with very little reward or payoff.

So here’s the real question: Why bother?

I found myself asking this very same question recently. My wife gave birth on January 3rd to a beautiful baby girl. We named her Denna. That makes two little Troxell children. Being a teacher and having two young children is not ideal for having spare time to write. I enjoy being a teacher and I love being a father, but I’m a writer and I’m not willing to give up on my goal to publish a book. Still, I found myself asking why it’s important. Why do I bother carving out precious hours each day to put words on paper (or, more accurately, on computer screen)?

I remember my writing professor back in college asking me that very same question. I had an independent study with him (so it was just me and him in his office…very intimidating) and he asked me one day why I wrote. I think he asked me because my writing at the time was shit and he wanted to know why I bothered. I told him that I like playing God and creating worlds and more cliche bullshit that I believed at the time. I’ll never forget his response. He said, “Huh.” That’s it. Just “Huh.” It was probably the right response.

Now, nearly ten years later, I think I can finally answer that question. In all honesty, I don’t enjoy playing God. Waaaay too much responsibility. I have enough of that in my little life on Planet Troxell. I think I write because I’ve always found the real world to be really, really boring. It’s just so damn…ordinary. I grew up on 80s movies and video games and any book I could get my hands on. All these venues offered me a front row ticket to the extraordinary. Real life was never like that. It was full of the mundane and the routine. Writing made everything possible, and that’s pretty freakin’ amazing when you think about it. Maybe that’s why I still do it. It’s difficult to let go of that kind of power. My fear is that if I stop writing, I may become an actual adult (shudder…).

I guess it could be worse. I could drink or gamble or smoke or dress like a woman on the weekends. Writing is a fairly safe addiction compared to most. Plus it keeps me close to home when my mundane, little life comes calling.

Here’s to another year of my extraordinary addiction!


~ by themoderntranscendentalist on January 15, 2015.

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