“The Writer” by Meskerem Mees

Why do writers want to write?

Good question, and one put to me the other morning that caused evening introspection. Let me tell you how that came to be.

Rita (my wife of thirty-nine years) and I are on a week’s getaway to Galiano Island near our home on British Columbia’s Pacific west coast. We met another couple at the tie-up wharf and got talking. You know, general stuff… “Where you from? How long you here? Where you headed after this?”

Then came a question aimed at me. “What do you do when you’re not on vacation?”

“’Besides bleeding money through the stock market,” I replied. “I’m a writer.”

“Interesting. What makes you want to write?”

I wasn’t stuck for an answer, but I was stuck for the right answer. Later that night (after five five-o’clocks on the dock which is mandatory attendance among the boating fraternity), I introspected with Google searches about writer motivation. I came up with a Youtube video by a remarkable young singer/songwriter named Meskerem Mees. She summed my introspection with this line in the lyrics from her piece titled The Writer:

And I am but a writer, so writing’s what I do.”

Kill Zone writers, Ms. Mees’s song is uplifting. Here are the links to the video and the lyrics.

And the takeaway question which you’re expected to answer—why do you want to write?

34 thoughts on ““The Writer” by Meskerem Mees

  1. Why do I want to write?

    “Psychological Projection” is seeing in others what is found in the self, “seeing others through the lens of ones own Shadow.” But projection in a larger sense consists of making the internal visible.

    Jung said, “In each of us there is an ʘther whom we do not know. He speaks to us in dreams and tells us how differently he sees us from the way we see ourselves.” Dreams can let us “see” ourselves more accurately by reading the Unconscious Self’s messages.

    All art, from cave paintings to Munch’s The Scream to Cleever’s The Swimmer to the Pieta, is projection in the greater sense, often unconsciously. They say all first novels are autobiography. But this is true of every novel. As authors, we just get better at disguising ourselves from ourselves.

    Humans have an innate, often unconscious, need to project themselves, to make their inmost self known. This is why I write. And probably why I make puzzles.

  2. Sheer, unabashed, unapologetic escapism. My characters live in a world in which I wish I lived too. And I can, but only as I’m running through the story with them as it unfolds around us. And all they ask of me in return is to serve as their stenographer, recording it all for them.

  3. I want to leave behind some books for my grandchildren, books with traditional values, books that they will want to pass down through future generations, books that will give them some clues to who their grandfather was. I like this better than having my name on some library.

  4. I write … to heal, to satisfy, to ease sorrow, to dance, to sing, to celebrate life, to entertain, to frighten, to touch lives. The reasons why writers write are as varied and complex as the stories we tell. But all of us, every writer who has come before us and those who haven’t yet begun their journey, write to fulfill a need, a yearning, some may even say it’s a calling. We’re helpless to fight it. Our deep-rooted need to write was instilled early in life, often by the hand of other writers, and the overwhelming craving needs to be satisfied.

    And so, we write. We chase our dreams, celebrate our victories, and pick each other up when we fall. Writers support other writers — we’re forever linked by a shared love of the written word.

    Hope you and Rita are having a blast! I expect pics when you get back. 😉

    • Beautiful comment, Sue. So well said that there are complex reasons for writing what we do – some bordering on psychopathic or near psychotic. 🙂

      One of the reasons I do this is to connect with like-minded people and share experiences, thoughts, and helpful stuff, Re: vacation. I have a meme on my board that says, “I finally built a life I don’t need a vacation from.” What do I do? Go on vacation. Weather’s been perfect and the marine life plentiful. Watch FB for pics next week.

  5. The binoculars in Meskerem’s video are an accurate symbol of what writers do. We observe. We stand apart on the sidelines and drill into other people’s lives, their sorrows, joys, hopes, despair. We watch goings on in the world around us and we chronicle them, trying to make sense of the incomprehensible.

    Maybe, just maybe, when we do it right, a reader digests our words and says, “Yeah! That’s the way it is” and we connected with another person and made their life richer.

    I write to connect with readers. That makes the world a little less lonely.

    • I didn’t catch the significance of the binoculars, Debbie. Thanks for the observation and thoughtful comment. I heard it said that two top indicators of intelligent people is they’re curious and observant. And thoughtful, as well.

  6. Such an uplifting song, Garry. Thank you for sharing it here. I had to immediately email it to my in-person writer’s group.

    Why do I want to write? Now there’s a simple question. The answer has many layers. The comments before mine give some excellent answers. I have to especially echo JG, Sue and Debbie’s comments.

    I want to write because I fell in love with reading at a young age, and wanted to tell my own stories. I want to write because I’ve always enjoy “pretending,” imagining a different situation, a different place, time, person, and what they might feel. I also want to write because I want to connect with other readers, other people. Making connections is one of the things we humans do, that we have a deep-seated need to do. At the heart of connecting is feeling.

    I just published “Rules Concerning Earthlight,” a collection of my fantasy and SF short stories. The three longest stories, including a novella, were co-written with my friend K.C. Ball, who passed away in 2018. She influenced the others, including four flash pieces she bought for her magazine (which was how we first became friends). K.C. was a master at making the reader feel. Connection. That’s at the heart of why I want to write.

    Thanks for an uplifting post this morning, one that connects us all to why we write.

    • You’re so right about the answer having many layers, Dale. It’s fascinating to read the feedback this morning. Everyone has a bit of a different perspective. Thankfully no one said, “For the money.”

  7. I write, because if I don’t, my head will explode.

    When I was taking my writing degree, all the other students could crank out beautiful explanations about why they write. I, on the other hand, had absolutely nothing. I didn’t care about making others cry or laugh, or experimenting with beautiful language or what have you. I just… couldn’t not write.

    • Good morning, azali. We must have gone to the same school. During my evening’s introspective, I deduced my main reason for writing is because I have to. Plus, I don’t want my head exploding which would be quite the mess.

  8. Great question to start a Thursday off on the *write* foot, Garry.

    I think I write because I’m a problem-solver at heart. Relationships seem to need problem-solving all. the. time.

    So, I make up these people (oh, you didn’t know you aren’t real?) and watch them play with each other, fight with each other, and hopefully make up with each other.

    Each time, I think maybe I can learn something about the broken relationships around me.


    • Great point about problem solving, Deb. I believe every can’t-put-it-down story has tension wound into the fabric. It’s the writer’s job to tighten it and the reader’s job to set it loose. Many relationships are much like that, I’m sure. Problems develop that need solving and that’s what keeps them together.

  9. I think it has something to do with love. And destiny. And self-discovery.

    It seems I am in this time and place to offer something of myself to the world. And that offering is accomplished through words. When I write, I think more deeply and understand more completely.

    Understanding this life is complicated. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to mysteries. My characters struggle to put the puzzle together, and I hope my readers will do the same beyond the covers of the book.

  10. “Struggle to put the puzzle together”–that’s a fabulous one-line description of the mystery arc, and of the search for meaning and understanding we all do.

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