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Why We Write
The art of writing is possibly one of the most beautiful of the skills man has been given. The best way to tell a person's character and personality is to know what their favorite book is. And when people speak of famous men, an author or two is bound to come up.
Many of us strive to reach the point where maybe, one day, we will be listed among those great writers, the great poets, to make our mark in history, to create our works of art and have them immortalized.
The question is, why should we write? Is it just because it's something to do? Or could it be more?
"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is full of passion." - John Keating, Dead Poets Society.
There are two things you can write for. You can write for yourself, or you can write for others. You can write to express yourself, or you can write to inspire others. And I believe that when you write for others, you will find that you have expressed yourself. Tolkien's works speak of courage, honor and friendship, but is full of poetry, song, good food, and country gardens.
But what is it that people want out of a story?
My theory: Heroes and happy endings.
Happy endings, because we want to know that it was all worth it in the end. They gives us hope in life. Their promise keeps us moving forward.
Heroes, because they give us hope in ourselves. And real heroes are sparse today. If there are any, we seldom hear of them. A man can handcuff himself to a girl trying to comitt suicide and save her life, but the latest celebrity scandal will get more attention. Those who the media focus on, who play the heroes on the screen, live in the exact opposite way. Yes, I know they're only playing their part, that's what acting is, but what would happen if instead of just saying the lines and walking away, we actually thought about what the character is doing? If we decided to chose that you wanted to be like that character that so many people see as a hero?
Heroes are the elements of a story that remind us that we can make a difference, whether it be a difference like taking the misfit kid to prom or destroying the ring of power. And it doesn't take any superpowers to do either. All it takes is a decision, and a leap of faith outside of the comfort zone.
"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another." - Charles Dickens.