Why Writers and I, Write?

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A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a car with a friend and his 9 year-old sister and she started asking me about the things I like to do. I told her I love to write and occasionally, paint. She gives me a wry but innocently sweet look of puzzlement and goes, “Everybody can write! I do that in school and its not that fun! Why do you like writing?”

I have been wanting to write about writing for a long time but I never thought about it again because whenever I felt like writing something else in my mind, the idea dived headfirst into publishing before I could remember I wanted to write about the true core of why I do the thing I do, that is writing.

Since man realized that they could communicate with one another, one could say that in a way, the seed for writing was planted. Later man would learn to etch and paint leaving stories for future generations to read.

The paintings left in caves many years ago may represent fact or fiction often a bit of both; what will remain in part a mystery is why they “wrote”. I wonder what compelled them to tell the stories, was it to remember? To communicate what they had done? Was it to plan an attack or teach their children how to hunt? I also wondered why their modern day counterparts write.

Creative expression

By expression, I meant the intention to express an emotion, idea, feeling, concept and thought. Writing is a great outlet for creative expression. I would wake up in the wee hours of the morning with story ideas derived from dreams that I just had to get out. My subconscious makes it impossible for me not to write about things. It keeps nagging me until I get them written down. That’s one of the first reason that leads me to start writing poetry in 2011 before I expanded myself to journalistic accounts till this day. Poetry is such a sweet release that I could no longer see myself without.

Imagination

I’ve been living inside my head since I was a child. I am an only child, I don’t have a long attention span, and when I was bored I would entertain myself with my imagination. I play pretend and I spend time with reading books and making art—that’s before the Internet too, of course.

My mind would drift to some world from my imagination – rich with characters and conflict. In general, I love to exercise my imagination when I’m writing. These are worlds that are escapism from the grit of reality.

To Help Others

It all started with pen and poetry, me inkling down my thoughts and feelings. As innocent of an occurrence like a little girl with her pink heart-shaped- lock diary, I realise people find themselves in similar situations as me and found hope through my writing. I started to see what a big impact I could provide with such small letters.

I enjoy interlinking my own experiences with others to help others overcome the long journey of life, love and loss and advocate for themselves by sharing my stories and words to help them with the cards life deals. I may not always have comments or letters telling me how much my words could have helped somebody, but I feel appreciated even if someone wanders by and found something that resonates with them and felt just slightly less alone.

Loving Books

I am influenced by the magic of other authors and could not help but to be part of them. I’ve always been a fan of books. I grew up in a home where pretty much everyone encourages each other to read a lot. There were always tons of books around and as I got older, it seemed natural to start telling stories of my own. The reading prepped me for how stories work, what their guts look like, and how to make them memorable.

In a way, writing is also a tribute to all the authors and works that have fed my imagination — it’s a “giving back” to the creative world for all it’s given me.

I write because I love their books. I have so often felt alone and misunderstood and an author reaches in and grabs my hand through a book. She describes a feeling and then I’m relieved to know that I’m not the only one that has ever felt that way. I want to do that for someone. George Orwell wrote because he wanted to make the world a better place, and writing was his chosen way of trying to do so. That is my reason for writing, too.

Therapeutic and Healing

Our minds are designed to make sense of our experiences and when we undergo a traumatic event, our minds have to work overtime to process what happened to us. These thoughts may keep us awake at night, distracted at work, or we may feel less connected to our friends, family, or significant other. Writing about a difficult experience force us to translate our wounds into words, making it easier for our mind to grasp that experience.

“Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.” —Franz Kafka

All in all, writing to me is the same as eating, sleeping and breathing. It’s what keeps me alive. I write because there is so much joy in sharing my own unique voice and point of view. It’s my greatest desire to help inspire others. When I write anything – poems, articles, blog entries, short stories etc., I know am making a positive difference in this world and there’s a sense of fulfillment that comes with that.

I find there is a flow of thought inside my head that I can simply tap into. I have practiced enough to have learned ways to allow this flow from my head to the page. Those thoughts, given the channel of writing, tend to take me further than I would’ve gone had I left them in my head. In other words, I write because I believe that the process of giving physical form to a thought takes that thought to a new level, where it can be built upon and help improve myself, my loved ones, and society in general.

 

Review of ‘Norwegian Wood’ by Haruki Murakami

 

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Norwegian Wood, first published in Japan in 1987, is one of Haruki Murakami’s most well-known novels. Expect Murakami’s quirky writing to guide you into a world of fascinating and unique characters. Steeped in maturity and intrigue, this novel expresses both the wholeness and twisted nature of human nature. Murakami captures the many odd habits of his characters in a disturbingly unforgettable way and I feel that its crew of characters is one of the strongest points of this novel.

Set during the late 1960’s to early 1970’s Japan, the novel is the story of Toru Watanabe, a normal and diffident college student looking for a way to deal with everything that happens around him like the death of his best friend, Kizuki. He then met Naoko when he moved to Tokyo to attend university, a naive young lady whom she fell in love with to find out Kizuki was Naoko’s former boyfriend.

A girl of doubts and vulnerability, Naoko was not sure how he would deal with Toru which made them drift apart away. Toru then meets Midori, the sensual, liberated and outspoken lady whom Toru had sexual interactions with. We learned along the way that Midori also has her own share of longing for relationships. The rest of the story then revolved around Toru torn between Naoko and Midori.

This is basically an adolescent love story which tackles issues of adolescents growing up in this world looking for their identity. This is also a story of death and the complications of many things that comes with it—how many of us deal with death differently, how each loss represents a scar in each of us and how it heals depends on us.

No truth can cure the sorrow we feel from losing a loved one. No truth, no sincerity, no strength, no kindness can cure that sorrow. All we can do is see it through to the end and learn something from it, but what we learn will be no help in facing the next sorrow that comes to us without warning.

—Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

The plot is flimsy, at best. Rather, Watanabe and the array of people he meets in university are what tie the story together. Outrageous and explicit, the mysterious Naoko, whimsical Midori, wise Reiko and arrogant Nagasawa all end up charming you in their own ways. It is because of this that Norwegian Wood becomes more than just a simple love story.

The dialogue in Norwegian Wood is another outstanding factor for me. As I read the book, I was greeted by surprising situations, engaging conversations and slowly learned to expect the unexpected from Norwegian Wood (ironically).

The novel engages one with its setting as well, framed in the late 1950s during the Japanese student movement. Murakami comments on the political landscape of Japan through Watanabe’s experiences and thoughts. It touches on the student revolution at the end of the 1960’s, sexual liberation and mental illness. Watanabe’s student life is also brought to life in a forgotten bookshop, a mental rehabilitation sanctuary in the countryside and the narcotic haze of drinking bars and love hotels.

In an attempt to sum up my thoughts, I feel that Norwegian Wood shines by presenting a haunting coming-of-age narrative of powerful, all-consuming love, insanity and death.