A Writer’s Journey: Part 4

A WRITER’S JOURNEY: Part 4 – Purpose, Everything Has a Purpose.
This most recent installment has been delayed. There are many reasons behind that (and for those who feared that there wasn’t going to be a next one, well this proves there is nothing to fear) and some of those reasons are also the cause of a change of my planned subject for this part. Originally, I was going to write about the value of the ideal reader but I’m delaying that one.
Everything has a purpose and why should a writer be any different.
Even a serial killer has a reason for doing what they do, though they may not understand what it is, it often comes out in the crimes they commit, and without those clues the FBI wouldn’t be able to work up their generic profiles. Writers have a reason for putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboards as well. Horror writers, in some cases, may not be all that different from serial killers when it comes to their motives. I want to take some time to discuss my purpose. And the purpose of this is to get you other writers to look closer at your own reasons for clicking at the keys. We often like to pass off our written creations as ways to pass the time but you shouldn’t sell yourself short.
I lost a grandmother this past week, with the exception of my wife’s grandmother whom I’ve adopted as my own, this recent loss was my last grandparent. She was my stepmother’s mother but that never stopped her from accepting me as her grandson. In addition, those of you who are readers of my blog know that my own mother is seriously ill with cancer and she has been recovering the last couple of weeks from a serious bout with pneumonia. These two events have forced me to evaluate a great deal of things including mortality. I was forced to see that time moves too quickly and we, as a species and at times most especially writers, don’t spend enough time with our loved ones. Too quickly their accomplishments can be forgotten in the waves of grief.
A week ago I remembered a pile of note papers I had been storing in the basement that contained the words my mother had deigned to grace the pages with. They are poems she wrote when she was a teenager and when I was a teenager. Almost all of which are unpublished. I asked her about them and if she would like me to submit them for her. I wanted her to see her words published; to see that others thought they were as valuable as I did. Tonight she told me I could do with them as I wished after she was gone. I was a tad disappointed. I asked her, “don’t you want to know that someone accepted them before you are gone?” Her reply was, “I accept me and that’s all I need.” She’d taken a creative writing course through the local college when I was younger and I had always thought that she had wanted to be a writer as well. That those poems and stories were left unpublished out of the nagging fear all novice writers have: rejection. Maybe that was part of it but she has no regrets about it. She wrote to spend a few moments of the day with herself, her feelings and for the unadulterated fun of it.
So tonight, I sat, I thought, considered the purpose behind my own writing.
The only thing I’ve truly come to fear in life is death. I fear that I will die having accomplished little outside of being a husband and father. Those are great, except I am an honest and greedy man, wanting to be remembered as a great husband and a father my children can be proud to call Dad. I want to leave an impression on the world and know that I’ve left it a better place. I think we all want that in some way. To not be forgotten after we are gone. Some leave their mark in the form of a fingerprint in the concrete laid for the foundation of a house. I’m no good at manual labour, I’ve tried and I’m no good at it. So I write and it could be argued I’m no good at that either. Except I enjoy writing in a way that getting the ratio of concrete mix to water just right can’t compare. The sweat, tears and sleepless nights are worth it when I get one line right and I’m happy with the hope that it might leave an impression on the reader that might be remembered in years to come. A hundred years from now I dream of a man or women reading that same line and laughing, smiling, crying or shivering to it because through it they will know some small piece of me and remember it and me in the process. When I hand my wife a copy of a book I’ve written those words will be in their to remember me by and to know that I was real in a concrete way. Words spoken can easily be forgotten from one generation to another but the written word is something that can be touched and passed on. When I write I’m laying the foundation of my life, building a house of good and bad memories that generations after me can visit long after I’m gone.
The purpose behind my writing is so that I am not forgotten. Every writer has a purpose behind their writing and keeping that in perspective will remind them not to give up when the words come a little harder to the page. You may have noticed that several specific words have been repeated during this rambling of mine – the title was not excluded in this – and the reason for this is, is I hope that they will continue to resonate after you’ve finished. That you will not forget them when next you take up your pages to create your worlds. I hope you find inspiration in them.
Take care friends,
Brandon Layng
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