So I stole the title “Why I write” off Joan Didion who admits to stealing it off George Orwell, but my reasons are not the same as the reasons she starts out with. Joan liked the way it sounded, liked what it implied, for myself I liked the idea of trying to articulate the compulsion that comes over me daily. The idea that Joan expresses through simile and metaphor implying the writer is a bully seems to be the opposite of my own intentions, for I do not intend to inflict the reader with opinions which are written to encourage a certain mindset but merely use writing as a selfish form of release. I can rid myself of ideas, feelings and thoughts that I no longer wish to hold on to, by putting pen to paper, by tapping on some keys.
“In short I tried to think. I failed. My attention veered inexorably back to the specific, to the tangible”. This is where Joan pulls me in, I feel like I understand her. Even when reading “Why I Write” by Joan Didion I struggled to pay attention to the sentence structure, to the wider ideas that she developed throughout the piece and instead focused on the images that the piece created for me. I could see myself sitting at a desk watching petals languidly fall from flowers and wondering whether plants feel pain, someone once told me that the smell that exudes from grass when it’s mown is a warning to nearby fields. I don’t know what good that would do though.
Joan explores how she became to realise she was a writer, the realisation that writing was her passion. “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking”, what a novel thought! Shouldn’t we know where we’re going to take a piece before we sit down to write, shouldn’t there be a certain structure and formality involved? I’ve never been good at structure or developing a solid idea before I begin so it fills me with hope to know that someone else uses the form of writing to make up their mind. I wonder if this is common. This quote for me sums up the answer to the question that the title asks.