The question of what propels creators, especially great creators, may be the subject of eternal fascination and curiosity that is cultural. The curtain on one of the most celebrated and distinctive voices of American fiction and literary journalism to reveal what it is that has compelled her to spend half a century putting pen to paper in”Why I Write,” originally published in the New York Times Book Review on December 5, 1976 and found in The Writer on Her Work, Volume 1 (public library), Joan Didion—whose indelible insight on self-respect is a must-read for all—peels.
Of course I stole the title with this talk, from George Orwell. One reason I stole it had been I write that I like the sound of the words: Why. There you have three short words that are unambiguous share a sound, additionally the sound they share is this: I I I In many ways writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other folks, of saying tune in to me, view it my way, change your mind. It’s an aggressive, even a hostile act. You can disguise its qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and evasions —with the complete types of intimating in the place of claiming, of alluding rather than stating—but there is no navigating around the reality that setting words written down could be the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion find more, an imposition of this writer’s sensibility from the reader’s most private space.
She continues on to attest to the character-forming need for living the questions and trusting that even the meaningless moments will soon add up to an individual’s becoming: