Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Do I Write to Live or Live to Write?

Should I write to live or live to write? If I write to live I’ve failed in achieving the true goal of an ideal writer, yet I have achieved a place in our material world. If I live to write it’s vice versa! So where do I stand?

I have been alive for twenty two years now. I have learned things, and I have succeeded in some tings, and failed in others. I have been loved, and loved in return. I have learnt of loyalty, and I have seen deceit. I was naïve, and I have matured. I was lost, but then found things that made me feel complete. I have cried and I have laughed. I had doubted, and I have blindly trusted. I know hunger, and I know satisfaction as well as poverty and wealth. I am healthy, and I am able to walk to the seashore and see the water hitting hard against the rocks, or carefully and smoothly stay as still as oil in a plate. I have clear eye sight, and I can see. I have good hearing, and I can hear things. I have a body that can feel physical pain, and I have a mouth which can taste things sweet and bitter. But what about those that do not have what I do. Paralyzed at birth, losing eyesight, the ability to hear or the sense of touch! Can they experience what I can? Can the blind see the sea? Or the distant views of mountains? Can they live in far away places of our galaxies, or in the magical worlds of faeries and elves? Words! And the power they hold! If one was to read a simple sentence such as: He knelt on one knee, at the early hours at the airport, and opened his arms, allowing his only son, whom he hasn’t seen in 4 years, run into them. What is it that happens to one after such a simple and seemingly marginalized and of little importance sentence? Can the person see in his mind the picture of joy? Feel the tender feeling of parental love, and taste the tears of joy that slowly make their way down the father’s cheeks as he embraces his son? This is the power of writing! It can take you anywhere! It has the power to show you, make you feel and taste things that are not in your possession. There are as many different writers and books as there are people on our planet. Some write to live and others live to write. What about me? Which path will I walk down? There are temptations on both sides? So how does one choose?

In order to choose, one should at first hand, thoroughly and with a clear mind look at the two options before him. I will talk of my options as the left, and the right path, one may follow. Now, off course the right will be the path of an ideal writer, a writer that lives to write and the left of the writer who writes to live. As with any options we face in our life there are virtues and vices in each one of these options, and I may say here that it all comes back to the essence, and the character of the person standing on this fork road, and his beliefs and ideals are the forces that will take the final decision. It is clear that very few out of many writers who chose the right path, have enjoyed a life of acceptance, material wealth, and worldly admiration. Is it not the case of the left path writers who find themselves and their works to be the bestsellers and the social icons of their age and time? I personally believe it to be true. A writer that lives to write, does he care for fame and wealth? Does he care to appear on the covers of magazines holding his published work with pride, smiling for the commercial ads that will add to his already growing sales? Is not his reason to write, simply in order to enlighten and share his views with those few in the world who still believe that a book, on the essence of truth and the mysteries of life to be of higher value than one depicting the adventures of a made up character? A character, which shoots his way through dark alleys filled with enemies, in order to rescue the love of his life and at the end save the world. I believe it to be so. On the other hand, the left path writers, after gaining a fairly good reputation will publish as many as two or three books per month, when in fact it takes longer then that in order to write them! It is the case with many known left path writers, that it is in fact not them who write their own books, but a whole team of people working for them who develop their idea trying to stick to the same style as the one book that shot their name to the very top!

So let us first discuss the right path, or the path of the writer who lives to write. I believe that in order for a writer to live to writer, it first takes patience, and talent! One cannot afford to dedicate his life to writing, simply to write when one knows that what they write is a worthless composition of words and sentences. In order for a person to write, with no intention of gaining fame and fortune, one must truly and wholly love writing. One must believe in the moral and ideal aspects of writing. A writer who can spend, up to a decade, if not his entire life in order to write one book is in my opinion a writer who truly and honestly writes simply in order to write. And off course it is the case with the majority of such writers, that their fame and glory, is always spawned after the writer has withered in his or her grave, with no knowledge of the glory their work has reached. How many great writers, who lived to write, were published only after they have long ago died? I believe there is something enormously fascinating how great art is only accepted and critically applauded after the death of its creator! Another important belief in my mind of the right path writers is that they do not look for fame or glory, the only sign they see at the end of the mountaintop, is getting their thoughts, beliefs and views on a concrete piece of paper that will outlast them and maybe one day find the proper glory it deserves. There is little wealth in the right hand writers’ world. Since they are not published as easily, or as often as they might want to be, they often have other jobs to pay their rent, provide food on the table, and afford the medicine they need to survive, hopingly long enough to view the rays of glory of their offspring. They spend hours on a sentence, choosing just the right words to get their feelings and emotions onto the paper! They at times feel the evil temptations to end it all and sell out; make a quick buck by writing some novel on any popular theme of their time, and get on the escalator instead of climbing the ladder they are on. But somehow they manage to stick to their beliefs; they stay true to themselves and all they believe in. They suffer! Yes! They hurt and ache! But since when has our world been known to be kind to the weak? Yes, weak! Isn’t that what the left path writers call the right ones? I can picture a twenty-four-year-old-bestseller novelist driving his Ferrari, and talking to his publishing house, mocking his teacher at the university who has been working there all his life, and taught him all he knows, (without taking into consideration how much he actually learnt), for spending the last twenty years, writing a book of a certain philosophical height that has been re-written with minor variations more than ten times, and is still not accepted by any major publishing house, (except the publishing house of the university), thinking that it is a risk, knowing that a thriller, a silly romance or a science fiction novel with nothing new to offer, will sell much more, (obviously this is due to a much larger consumer number who rather purchase a book that needs no pondering but is simply an easy exciting read).

This is in my opinion the harsh yet very true reality of the right path writer? Do I want that? Do I want to spend my years trying to publish something I have put so much effort into, knowing that it is a very long shot? I think I should first discuss the left path writers and their side, before taking a decision.

The left path writers are numerous. They publish a romance, million of heart broken girls relate to the novel, which offers absolutely nothing new, and the numbers rise up. The publishing house is happy. Write another one they say. You have two weeks! The book must hit the stands before the Christmas holidays! Your pay check is triple of what it was the last time. You manage to outnumber your last selling novel, and we sign with you a contract that will allow you to publish these series on monthly basis! Now with such high demand and the authors’ name known by millions, it is obvious his or hers life is comfort guaranteed. After all, the money the publishing house pays the author is marginal to the profit it makes! So the author sits and writes, but his aim is not to write, but to simple finish a novel before the deadline, cash his check, and get the new car and that house in the Hampton area. After all, how hard can it be to write a novel of a teen love, where the plot has been known for ages? A rich boy meets a lower class girl, cheats on her, lives her pregnant! She goes through pain and suffering only to raise the child all by herself, making a career for her and ending up to meet her first love miserable due to drugs or something like that! It’s true that these novels give hope to many, and many relate to them. But seriously, all that differs from one of these novels to the others is the Cover of the book and the minimal changes of the plot! These novels have been around for centuries, and are no longer shocking! They have been digested by simple minds for centuries! But can we blame the left path writers? They write, they publish, get paid, get a reputation and are able to provide for themselves and their families the best of the material things in our world. They are globally recognized, they are the pop icons of their age and time! Hundreds of even more famous people praise them to those sitting on the other side of the television screen, or to those reading about it in their morning papers. Making them believe that if they miss out on this new book of this best selling author, they are missing out on everything the entire society will be talking about until the next book will be published! But doesn’t the life of the left path writer sounds so much more easy and fun, providing and successful (in the most typical material sense of success) and off course so much more glamorous and enticing! It does! Who wants fame and glory that will only come after death! Doesn’t a person want to enjoy the fruits of his labor while he is alive? Doesn’t one want to be able to provide for his or her family and loved ones the best of the material things? They do! And I do too!

In conclusion, after writing the truth about the modern day literary world, and being honest to myself, I’m afraid I will disappoint you! I will not lie neither to myself nor to you and tell you that I’m different, and I would rather live to write than write to live! Because I simply don’t. I want to rise up in this socially material kaleidoscope of pretense lies and false ambitions and ideals! I want to be able to have what my parents were not able to give me! I want the fast sports car! I want the mansion with a pool! I want to have my name written on the guest list of every major event! I was born into a material world! And I am material at heart! Who knows, maybe after having achieved financial and social heights, I can then write a piece of moral ideals, and have it published after my death. I will surprise my readers, showing them that there was more to me than novels of minimal food for the mind! Show them, that I could have been the ideal writer of highly philosophical standards! But had I been that writer, I would have stayed anonymous to everyone! They would have never read about the characters that they have grown to love! Those characters, even though were nothing new, offered the people, my readers, an escape from the material world into a world that was in one way or another, safer, more fun, and exciting from the reality that they dealt with everyday!

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