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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Being a Writer


Someone once asked me whether I thought one is born a writer or if one's environment, by which they meant the places you go, the people you meet, among other influences, turn you into one. 
Of course, as in all complicated questions at the time I didn't know what to say. However, eventually I was able to give an answer- you are born a writer. Of course, there are certain things that happen to us in life that influence us, or lead us to write, but for one to be a good writer the spirit has to be there since birth. For example, anyone can be lazy or depressed enough to live in a dark room surrounded by crumpled papers, empty wrappers and alcoholic beverage bottles with wet cigarette butts inside; head lying on a desk and a string of drool wetting a piece of half written paper. But only a great writer will transfer these conditions to a mansion in Miami. It takes a special kind of person to be miserable in a place that could easily be classified as paradise and with a bank account as full as gluttony's stomach. It always helps if they had awful relationships in the past, or have been through complicated situations, but that feeling of "the grass is greener on the other side" or "being happy where you're not", that is with you from the beginning. Although you can't remember, you might even predict that you were inside your mother's womb anxious to come out… Personally, I decided there was still time for sandwich, but certainly didn't wait until dawn to greet the world.
There is a portuguese song that I have always enjoyed listening to, never understanding why I like it so much, now I understand. The line "being happy where you're not", which I mentioned above, was taken out of that song. Another line I like very much is "I always have this feeling, as if I'm losing". The way I interpret it is, there is always a feeling as if I'm at a loss for being where I am and not somewhere else, where all the fun is. Of course, none of this is true because at the end of the day, if you do decide to go to that wonderful place that you crave and fantasise about so much, then you're just gonna want to come back. To get back on track here, I'm just going to explain what this little theory of mine has to do with writing. I believe a writer needs to be born with this need to be somewhere else, because only this feeling will make you want to disappear into a land you create, whether it is a fictional or existing place it will always be better to drift there for hours than to be where you are presently- is it not?
What you write about comes from whatever life you live, and sure, some event has to lead you to write, but the motivation, incentive, character or disposition, even, which you need for this 'job' lies within your nature. It is not something you become. It is what you are.