Why is it that we want to do the things we want to do?
This question plagues me. When I think about it, the answer seems like it should be simple to locate.
Why do I like what I like? Why do I want to do the things I want to do?
“Because I enjoy them,” I tell myself. It’s that easy.
No. It isn’t. It’s much, much more complex.
Because for the simple things I do, I can explain away my wants with simple reasons. But that’s not quite satisfying. It’s surface-level. I want to know about the complicated, deep things.
So, I look to the most complicated, deeply buried thing I do.
Why do I write?
It’s strange business, writing. Many say, “I write for pleasure” and “Writing lets me get away.” For me, those things contribute the mural of reasons why writing occupies a large part of my time. But only a small piece they make. Only a small corner of the picture.
So what’s the rest of the picture look like? A perfectly fine question.
You should understand something, however. When you ask a writer why he or she writes, they might say things like “I enjoy it” and “It takes my mind off things.” Those answers, too, are perfectly fine. But they’re also perfectly inadequate.
A writer, one who creates with little more than callous fingertips and over-imagination, does not write because it is fun. Enjoyment is a byproduct of the process. A pleasant one I might add. But it isn’t what drives a writer to write. So, too, can be said for the door that writing presents to us. A door that, when walked through and closed firmly, leaves reality outside without a key.
So, what then? What does the rest of this picture look like?
And absolutely, perfectly necessary.
It’s not a want. It’s a need.
A need to think of people who do not, and may never exist. To give them faces, to give them names. A need to write my life, sentence by sentence, in miniature composition books. A need to express the smallest constructions of descriptions and feelings that I’m suddenly stricken with.
And in that, perhaps I’ve answered my question. Or rather, I’ve presented another one entirely. One that’s impossible to find the answer to.
But that’s ok. Because, as I’ve realized several times before, not every question requires an answer. Some things just are, and their reasons and explanations should stay buried beneath my skin.
The reasons why I write can’t be pinpointed. That picture has no distinct colors, textures or qualities. It’s invisible. And tangible. And subtle. And blatant.
All at once.