Writers Write, Right?

Thanksgiving Morning in America

And writers write.

This bit of wisdom is tossed around like a Bible verse, but do you hear it explained or elaborated upon?  I doubt it.  But, instead of boring you with a tedious explanation of why writers write, I’m going to show you that writers write.

It’s Thanksgiving morning here in America, and I’m sitting at my in-laws’ house on Lake Guntersville in North Alabama.  The entire family is here: My children, my nephews, and my wife, et al.  You get the idea; it’s like a Griswold gathering.

And everybody is watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  In fact, so am I.   But I’m also sitting here with a laptop on my lap, a mug of coffee beside me, while my fingers go all stream-of-consciousness on the keyboard you while the floats stream down 34th Street.

Nobody here has noticed that I’m doing this (except my daughter, who has a sense of perception that’s supernatural).   Plus, the kids are active.  One is playing a John Williams’ Star Wars score on a keyboard while another is looking a scale model of a Roman ballista that he built.  And two others are about to get into a fistfight.

Ah, the holidays.

But there’s something else going on in my mind (and my ears): the biography of the Apple entrepreneur Steve Jobs (written by Walter Isaacson).  I downloaded it from audible.com and I’ve become intrigued by the man himself, and the broader notion of merging of technology and the liberal arts.

It has started me thinking: Maybe I should broaden my own writing horizon.  Buried deep inside me, somewhere near my amygdala, but a little removed from my optic nerve, is a deep-seated need to help people and connect with people.  Those who know me know that this usually comes in the form of humor, because that’s the easiest way to pack a punch, as it were:

You can skydive without a parachute.

You just can’t do it twice.  

So while listening to the way a passionate and often cruel Steve Jobs would relentlessly pursue perfection in the form of the closed Apple Computer ecosystem, it dawned on me that, like the rest of you, I  am mortal.   And it’s this mortality that’s given me pause to reflect on the things that I really enjoy.

One day I’m going to die.  And I have a need to be remembered.  All of us do.  Whether you’re an engineer, artist, accountant, carpenter, or minister, you want your mortal life to impact others.

So I’m challenging myself: Can I tailor my creative writing into an artistic form that is more than just story-telling, humor, and fiction?  Can I lay the groundwork for — and do the required hard work — to launch a writing project that will move me beyond, into that regime that encompasses creative writing and something more.

So here’s your Turkey Day assignment.

Make a list of all the things in life that you love.

What do you love to eat?

What do you love to do?

What do you love to read?

What do you enjoy watching?

By doing this, and being 100% honest with yourself, you will be able to give a rocket boost to your creative writing.

Here’s an honest list of things I love:

  • Maps, globes and atlases
  • Reading encyclopedias
  • Listening to a complete album by “The Beatles”
  • Watching college football (love me some Crimson Tide)
  • Cool computer graphics
  • Cocktail parties
  • Rock concerts
  • Architecture (especially Craftsman)
  • Cutting edge science
  • One liners and zingers
  • English-style taverns
  • London, England (yep, the whole city)
  • Mathematics
  • Luxury hotels
  • 5-Star Restaurants
  • Angry Birds
  • Science fiction and fantasy
  • Conspiracy theories
  • The elegance of mathematics
  • Sleeping in
  • Solitude
  • The coastline and lighthouses of New England
  • Collecting old-school Dungeons & Dragons game products
  • Collecting coins
  • Collecting books
  • Watching progress bars while installing software
  • Macs, TiVo, PC hardware
  • Bookstores (cozy, with hot coffee)
  • Wedding receptions
  • Organizing
  • Getting a slow buzz from fine sippin’ whiskey
  • Making lists
  • Reading Stephen King novels

See?  Wasn’t that easy.

Look at your own list.  Have you been honest?  You will know if you’ve been honest if there is something in your list that embarrasses you.  You will know if you’ve been honest if there is something in your list that you do not want to put on the Internet.  You will know if you’ve been honest with yourself if you finish the list and know that you’ve done a hard day’s night … oops, sorry … a hard day’s work.  :-)

Now, may I please have another piece of pumpkin pie?

“If you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying.” — Bob Dylan.

I am thankful.

~Peace, from Keith

© Copyright 2011 Alan Keith Parker.  The quote by Bob Dylan is used under fair use laws.  The clipart is in the public domain.  If you steal my work, you’re an asshole.

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