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Why We Write

On Monday nights I get together with a few friends to exchange ideas about writing and to exchange pieces that we have written. A few Mondays ago one of those friends was having the most fundamental of creative writing problems. "Why should I ever write anything?" she moaned. "Why should any of us? No one wants to hear anything I have to say because I have nothing new to say about any of it." After I, along with the rest of the group, tossed some sympathetic and half-heartedly reassuring words to her I had a thought. "Ultimately, everyone wants to feel like they are not alone. No matter how right or how wrong we think our lives are going or how right or wrong our thoughts are, we want to know that other people are there to support us because they empathize with our experiences." What I was trying to explain is the reasoning behind continuing to write creatively after thousands of years of recorded literature. What I also realized is that, unless the subject deals with some knew political or technological development, people have not really found any new subjects about which to write. Love is still as wonderful and painful as it has always been, death is still as mysterious, deception, betrayal, adventure, none of these things has changed and yet they are among the most commonly written on subjects. Why have we, as a race, not told ourselves that there is no new subject about which we can write and therefore that we should throw in the towel altogether? One reason may well be that humyns, in general, are loathe to admit our shortcomings and are, therefore, ultimately arrogant. But humyn beings are also ultimately lonely. Of course, there are many reasons people read: seeking excitement, research, etc. But why, for example, read a biography of a person you do not know? Because we want to relate to other people. We want to feel good about ourselves as people by reading about the happiness in another's life. We want to feel b...

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