*--Otherwise known as the other Big W Question
I’m re-reading a lovely collection of successful writers’ accounts, called WHY WE WRITE. It serves as a nice break between revisions, and for some reason I believe I deserve a break.
I enjoy the take of these incredibly talented and phenomenally successful folks on why and how they do what they do. From my humble perch, I recognize the process, and feel closer to some than to others.
It was something Armistead Maupin said about the “why” that struck not only a nerve, but turned the light switch to illuminate, at least for me. I quote:
“I write to explain myself to myself. It’s a way of processing my disasters, sorting out the messiness of life to lend symmetry and meaning to it.”
Life’s journey is understood in stories. In fiction we can organize the twists, and make the hairpin turns be more than pointless moments of extreme anxiety, but part of the whole. Everything fits, all for a reason, and endurance is heroic.
I also love that Maupin used the word symmetry. I’m a sucker for symmetry. I had spent many years working with traditional textiles, and getting comfort from their use of symmetry.
18th Century embroidery from Karabagh
I have a writing friend who is a master puzzle-maker. Puzzles work this way as well; everything fits, and one thing ties to another. The anxiety of solving a puzzle, persevering while mulling the clues, can be exasperating. But in the end every square is filled, everything in place, and, to use a famous quotation from Robert Browning—
God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world.