Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Not Enough Time In the World

There are many, many reasons why I write. One of them, to borrow from the movie title, is that the world is not enough.

I've always had a lot of things I wanted to do with my life. As a kid, I thought that I could fit into one lifetime the following careers: jet fighter pilot, F.B.I. agent, novelist, elementary school teacher. Also, I would have twelve kids. And I would be tall and gorgeous and wear a brown leather jacket. This was my life plan as a child.

The truth is, however, I am neither tall nor short, I'm not likely to be mistaken for a supermodel (which I am quite comfortable with), and F.B.I. agents just don't make enough money.  I have done some pretty neat things with my life so far -- traveled to all seven continents, served as a Marine, interned in a museum of arms & armor, flown a plane solo, taught Iraqi kids how to play kickball. Oh, and I do have the jacket.

But I'm never going to get a chance to do it all. I can only be one person, living one life.  And I want to do so much.

Being a writer lets me step into another life, even more intensely than reading does. There are so many interesting people out there, doing interesting things. Maybe I dream of being vegan but can't let go of my carnivorous urges -- my character can be a perfect vegan, though.  Maybe I quit boxing after my first few classes, but not my character. Maybe I'll never be a forensic pathologist, an architect or a stockbroker, but with a whole lot of research, I can write it.  And while I don't expect to ever have a one night stand, get a tattoo, have a dozen kids, or live on a farm, I can write those things too, using my imagination to experience what I doesn't fit into my own life.

As writers, we aren't confined to our own lives. That experience of walking in someone else's world is a gift we give our readers, but most of all, it's a gift we give ourselves.

15 comments:

Tiffany Neal said...

Love this post! And it is exactly how I feel. Being able to step out of my body and into a character's is an amazing feeling. :)

Kittie Howard said...

I echo what Tiffany Neal wrote. Your words flow beautifully. And my hub was in the USMC. Semper Fi!

Anne Riley said...

So true! Writing is so much of an escape for me - things I will probably never do, I get to experience anyway, in a roundabout sort of way.

Julie said...

Well said! and it sounds like you do so many things already! I have to admit this is why I write - to do amazing things through characters. But writing has saved me a lot of money. I don't feel like I need to spend time at the mall buying new clothes, decorating my house, or even vacations and weekend trips are less frequent and I'm okay with that.

Jen said...

Love this post! It's a much needed gift, I love the time in front of my computer or out on the patio with a notepad and glass of wine imagining where I want to travel next, what I want to be, what I should learn and who I want to be with, it's an amazing journey and what I love about it is that eventually others will join the journey with me!

Piedmont Writer said...

Fantastic post! All of the reasons I wanted to write!

E. Elle said...

What a beautiful post. I said it before and I'll say it again: "yea for vicarious living!"

Melissa said...

Wow, this is exactly how I feel! There are so many things I want to do but I know I can't....but through reading or writing I can experience them.

The Rejection Queen said...

When I watched the Academy Awards...it really made me want to write more. I don't want to be an actor...but just to know you were the one who wrote thE story, that's INCREDIBLE.

sarahjayne smythe said...

I love this post. It really expresses a lot about writing and why I do it. Or at least try to do it. :)

Falen said...

You should totes get a tattoo. They're awesomesauce

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, that is so true! What an awesome post, Guinevere. :-)

Shelley Sly said...

Guinevere, this is such a terrific post. So true! I definitely have a huge connection with my characters, and being able to be in another place or another time is fascinating.

Donna Hole said...

I heartily agree. Thanks for expressing this so eloquently for me.

..........dhole

Guinevere said...

Aw, thanks guys! It's nice to know we all share some of the same joys in writing.