|Someone once asked me the question: Why do I write? He was writing an article to appear in the Sunday Bergen Record and honestly did want to know the answer. To which I replied, "Why? Because in my world, fish fall up, words are for breathing in as well as exhaling, and what I see becomes a boiling stew and should I not expel the composition in some form of verbicasious casserole, I should most certainly, and with some degree of intensity, explode."
The reporter wasn't really sure that he could print that because, he felt, that most folks wouldn't understand it, more, they couldn't even have a grasp of what I was talking about. My reply was that I felt sorry for them then. I went on to explain that Writers, as a general species, good ones, anyway, do not exist in the world of 'everyoneelse,' that indeed, we stand a minuscule breath aside thus to better view, digest, react and describe what most other folks either do not even see or wouldn't know what they saw if they saw it.
Poor man, writer though he may have aspired to be, had a question about how a fish could fall, let alone fall up. Fish die and float to the surface, they fall up, says I paraphrasing a favored author of mine. It is all in the mind, how one perceives and interprets and I being, admittedly, a bit mad, and certainly, every bit as much as the drowning man is compelled to take that fatal breath, I must write. It is how I make sense of the world, often a senseless place, but more, how I can take those little things far too often ignored or unseen and make them visible to the sightless beings wandering around in their selective fogs in hope, that just maybe, I can enlighten their darkness and get them to open their eyes.
It is my mission, I suppose, to get others, other writers that is, to appreciate the infinitesimal treasures that exist around them and use these to make their writing have life and breadth and depth. I used to make my writing students write about what water tastes like or what just might be in the drop of water hanging precariously off a leaf tip. I would have them lying on their backs in the library or crawling on hands and knees across campus purely for the experience of viewing their world from a different perspective. They spent hours blindfolded finding their way from one side of town to the other as well as noting down every sound they heard while floating on a raft at midnight in Lake Saint Claire. I taught them to sense the little things that in the course of everyday life they had become immune to. In short, I infected them with a dose of finding infinity in the skeleton of a leaf, tomorrow in a drop of water and yesterday in a constellation. I taught them to use their senses as well as their sense and to be rather than merely exist.
For in these is the essence of the writer born, is the function of their lives prescribed and the light of their soul revealed.