Sheer Egoism or Enthusiasm?

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My blogging friend Calensariel wrote a beautiful post about why she loves and continues to write >>>I write because<<<. It’s beautiful, well worth reading and it left me wondering about my own motivation. We all have different reason why we write and I was wondering what were mine? The love to write is one thing, but why do I share it with the world – well, part of the world anyway?

I started to write letters when I was a young adult, letters to the demons of my past. To the woman who gave birth to me, to her husband, who was supposed to be my father, who I re-named “The Enabler.” I wrote down what I felt…got it out of my system and moved on to the next letter. I didn’t send them,didn’t need to send them. I wrote for healing purposes only and the letters ended up in an ashtray, when I felt ready. I stopped writing for a while, then I started to write a blog when I quit smoking. Hammering on the keyboard was a healthy alternative, when I felt like hitting someone…something.

This all is now in my past. Smoking is something that I simply outgrew, so there is nothing left to talk about. The demons of my past have left me…still I write and ramble along.

Last night, when my husband became Mr. Football (sigh), I sat down and thought about why I continue to write and I couldn’t come up with anything deep or noble to say. What is my motivation I wondered and started to look for answers?

I remembered an article, written by George Orwell, where he explains why he felt the need to write and I looked it up once more. I read it and had to grin. Not too flattering, but it comes close…very close to my motivation.

Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen — in short, with the whole top crust of humanity. The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all — and live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery. But there is also the minority of gifted, willful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money.

Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed. The aesthetic motive is very feeble in a lot of writers, but even a pamphleteer or writer of textbooks will have pet words and phrases which appeal to him for non-utilitarian reasons; or he may feel strongly about typography, width of margins, etc. Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.

Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.

Political purpose. — Using the word ‘political’ in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.

It might not be too flattering, but it he nails it for me. I am an egoistic, enthusiastic, truth searching, political little bugger 🙂

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11 thoughts on “Sheer Egoism or Enthusiasm?

  1. Funny, but when I read your writing I see someone who just loves to tell stories. You remind me of a how a dolphin jumps out of the water into the air and spins before diving back with joyful abandon. Your stories are usually so humorous. I’m still laughing about the Jackasses when I relate that one to people.

    I agree with Orwell’s quote. I think that’s exactly where we’re sitting now…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I write in hopes that I can make someone “smile” or perhaps something I write makes someone’s life better or have more of an understanding of life. To live is an adventure……….make the most of it!

    Liked by 1 person

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