‘If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.’
-- Isaac Asimov (pictured)
I wrote a post recently ("End of Year What to Do") where I begged the question, "I began this Blog several months ago, but I wonder if I shouldn't end it?"
How silly is that?
Oh, I suppose it is physically possible. Obviously, it is. I could just zap it and all the Blogs I have in my strange little world would disappear. But then where would I go? Write my peculiar observations in a secret book and lock it in a drawer with instructions to burn it when I die? Then I would truly just be talking to myself or maybe to God if I wanted to be sanctimonious about it. Truly this internet has been the greatest thing for we writers since coffee and Spell Check. For most of us, since we all can't be Stephen Kings and Jeffrey Deavers, have spent most our wordy lives talking to ourselves with most two-way communication coming in as a form letter rejection. Most of we writers live lives of Emily Dickinson obscurity, hoping like Emily our genius is discovered and praised after we're gone. But there is one absolute about a true writer, be he or she good or bad (for true writers are never indifferent), a writer writes.
What are the reasons I write, the write reasons?
Let's start with the not right write reasons.
I don't write for fame and fortune. Heaven knows what I have earned for my writing wouldn't pay a pauper's rent. I believe it did occasionally put food on the table, but not exactly the fois gras and champagne night-on-the-town variety; more of a, "Hey, hon, looks like an ARBYs night" moment. Of course, I earned most my literary royalties at a time of life when I sometimes wandered about trolley stops looking for dropped change to buy pretzels for lunch. (Ah, a nice little slipped-in plug for one of my other essay collection titles.)
And who needs fame when you're already such a household name? You've all heard of me, right? No? Not surprising, I'm so recondite sometimes I'm not sure I know me. What does fame get you anyway, except perchance an answer square on Jeopardy! and a persistent public of pursuers pestering you at your favorite restaurant and a mailbox overflowing with letters from fanatical fans? (Fanatical fans, hmm, I guess that's redundancy.)
By the way, what does my one fanatical fan mean by a by saying don't reject a story from me "just because it is too long..." When you are selling in the penny-per-word market you tend toward run-on sentences, adjectives on adjectives and a lot of prepositional phrases. "Writings of Elwin Adams" ran some 6,500 words bringing me a payment of just over $65, which was not a bad fee for the time. Still, even in 1969, you'd have to sell a lot of $65 stories to call it "making a living".
Now I will admit when I was a teenager I had thoughts of fortune. Well, a picture of reasonably high piles of filthy lucre anyway. I wanted to earn enough that I needed not do anything else but write. I didn't have lofty dreams. I wasn't dreaming of being on the cover of Life Magazine or winning the Pulitzer. Being a hack horror story writer seemed a worthy enough goal, and as of yet such pulp purveyors have been left off the Nobel Prize for Literature list. I suppose, as you can see in my illustrations, to some extent I achieved this youthful ambition, an advantage of not aiming too high.
After my youth I still held hope of being a full-time writer for a number of years, but I lost all interest in fame. If I could go back in time I would have stuck with a non de plume and preserved my anonymity, although I do still have a great deal of obscurity making my anonymity somewhat assured after all.
Of course there is a certain thrill seeing your name as the byline that first time or on the cover of a book for the first time. I mean we all have some stalks of the vanity weed growing within the black soil of our souls.
After a while you get use to it and take it in stride. (Yeah, right, do bears sell toilet paper on TV?)
So another wrong write reason is to get published. It's a tiresome routine this marketing yourself. The manuscript is easy, looking for a buyer is a pain, especially waiting and waiting and waiting and yes, waiting the result. It is like serving jail time before the judge hands down the verdict.
Blogging has then its rewards. You no longer must concern yourself with pleasing another low level clerk on the slush desk or survive the whims and fancies of some unseen editor who stand between you and the reading public. Now you can just fling it out there and let the readers find you if they dare. The advantage is now you probably have a longer shelf life than ever. You may float about in cyberspace long after the paper publications have been knocked down by the Nook and kicked out by the Kindle. As long as you are flying about the world only a keyword away from a Google search someone may find you.
What are the write reasons?
Maybe just one, I don't have a choice. I could no more resist the lure to fill a blank page with wordage than not eat chocolate covered bunnies at Easter time. Basically I have been writing since I learned the Alphabet and will keep doing so as long as senility doesn't make me forget the Alphabet. Writing isn't a trade, a hobby or an avocation. It is a disease or a curse, a cursed disease, a diseased curse, a pox, a plaque or a birth defect, but it isn't something once you are afflicted that you cure. It isn't therapy either. Writing never cured any of my fears, failures or aberrations. Writing is what I do anyway.
The Blogs will go on.