Why do you write?

In a former time, I used to freelance as a translator and personal assistant to expats who needed help getting through the residency process in Costa Rica. My fees were modest and I had excellent recommendations which guaranteed that I would be busy for most of the year. One extremely high-maintenance client, who actually came to me by word of mouth (rather than through a lawyer) finally made me throw in the towel but I still occasionally help personal friends who need to renew their residency cards.

Yesterday was one such day. My friend’s situation is very straight-forward, the documentary requirements for her renewal are easy to meet and we had a very competent and friendly employee helping us with the transaction. Afterwards we went for a lovely lunch where we talked about everything under the sun but came back often to the subject of writing, a passion which we both share. We formed a small writers group about a year ago and although our growth and output is modest, I feel that it has helped all 6 of us in the group improve our writing or at the very least, lose some of our self-consciousness about letting others critique our work.

I asked my friend why she writes. I don’t know what I expected but her answer surprised me because it was on the tip of her tongue as if she has been thinking about it for a while. Her ambitions are not lofty.  She confessed that she dreams someone will find many publishing-worthy manuscripts in her home after she passes; that they will publish them and make sure that the proceeds of these works find their way to her son.

My mind cogitated on this reply for a little while I thought about an answer to my own question. The best I could come up with was that I wasn’t so much interested in becoming rich but in being read, although the money aspect is not really something to ignore. I am still thinking about the words of another of our members, a poet, who believes there is no room for the poet and the poetry. I strongly disagree with that sentence, feeling that there is almost no separation between the writer and the material written. I think that is the reason I don’t give myself license to write about anything even remotely controversial. I fear that perhaps someone will come upon my writing without knowing it is mine and yet be able to identify it as mine. I have six blogs. I write in all of them at least once a month, in one of them several times in a month. They are all on different subjects but I think my style is the same in all…I can’t say for sure though and I know that it is not what I want. I want to be able to write from different POV and have them feel authentic. I am sorry that I never went for the debate team, I think that would have been tremendous practice in listening to the deeply buried ramifications of thought in me.

Our outing was a wonderful chance not only to talk to a fellow writer but also to sit in a beautiful county so close to the one we live in and yet worlds away with all its modernization and culture.

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