Even before there was any written form of any language we have expressed our thoughts. Even way before there were books there were cave paintings. Some of them in France date back some 35,000 years. Some guy or maybe it was some gal must have seen a big bison or something, and was saying, “Hey people – this is what I saw the other day!”
Jumping ahead some 34,500 yeas later and just 500 years ago the printing press was invented – which pretty put an end to the scribe profession. That invention started a revolution. Soon even the common people started reading and writing. And just a few decades ago, the personal computer put an end to the moveable type printing press.
Through all of that the answer to why we write hasn’t changed. We write because we saw something, or had an idea about something, or we thought of a made up story that we wanted to tell. It’s that simple.
Today there are so many easy ways to tell a story or share something we know. I find it incredible to see all the self-made how-to videos on You Tube. The other day I ran across one where a guy was explaining the proper orientation of a paper toilet seat cover. I mean wow. Isn’t the look at the shape of the paper thingy and the shape of of the toilet seat enough to figure that out?
But what I took away from the toilet seat cover instructor guy is that sharing our wisdom is it’s own reward, and let’s us make our mark in history. Writing has made it really easy for anybody who can read, to be able to know everything that ever happened until now.
After just a little living experience, we think we know it all. A big brother is looked up to by his younger brother, who may only be 2 years younger, but he will think his big brother knows everything. In college we go through eras of increasing intelligence known as freshman, sophomore, junior and senior. We may have felt smart as a high school senior, but in college we have to start all over again!
Being able to write a beautiful fictional story takes great skill. But writing about our feelings is pretty easy. I’ve only written one fictional story, which I made into an 8mm movie when I was 19. Everything else I have written is pretty much a commentary. I don’t think anyone would argue with me that as one ages, he or she becomes more opinionated, and therefore has a lot to say.
Aside from toilet seat covers and other ramblings that are a waste of time, writing some good thought provoking material is something that I think can be as satisfying as when an Egyptian Pharaoh built a huge pyramid shaped grave marker for himself. I write, simply because I want to be remembered.
When the task of writing grows inevitably arduous—and seemingly thankless—we must remember why we started. Inspired by George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Why I Write,” this introspective project highlights our motives for writing. Share your story and join the conversation. Live events are produced throughout the diverse cities of Orange County and feature author readings from curated essay submissions.
- Write a 500-word essay explaining why you write.
- Submit via Submittable.