I’m compulsive about writing. I sit at a table and I reach for a pad of paper and a pen. I sit at a computer and automatically click to open the word processing program. My empty fingers itch for an good fountain pen or even an antique dip pen and a bottle of colored ink.
No subject is sacred. I have strong opinions. My opinions can be changed by compelling evidence and cogent arguments, but my positions are stated clearly and occasionally even with footnotes. I don’t reach my strong opinions in a vacuum. I want links, supporting evidence, and documentation to support a position. When I get that kind of backup for statements, I reach my conclusions.
Sometimes I’m funny. Sometimes I’m serious. I may be disgusted, irreverent, playful, reflective, or melancholy. I can be imaginative or philosophical. I teach. I lecture. I question. I explain. I research. I investigate.
I have pretty leather-bound journals scattered all over my life, and all of them have writing in them. I write my dreams, my thoughts, my observations. I write my memories to save for my son. I write the news, to save for posterity – if there ever is posterity. I write love notes to whomever I feel love for at the moment. I write letters in those journals – letters to old high school teachers, to friends from the past and present, to family, to grandchildren not yet born. They will never be sent or read by anyone, but I write them anyway.
The dreams I live at night are vivid. They form the basis for my short stories. I have lots of them. I doubt I will publish very many of them to this blog. They are beyond science fiction and fantasy, sometimes.
I love to write.
So, I write.
I have rules about my writing, and I trust when there is debate in the comments to my blog, others respect these guidelines.
I write to communicate ideas.
I can’t abide rudeness. Points can be made without resorting to name-calling, taunting, or other grade-school behaviors. Threats, harassment, and general nastiness never persuaded anyone of anything other than the rudeness of the person threatening, harassing, or being generally nasty. I am literally and figuratively unable to hear someone who uses these techniques as communication.
I write to persuade.
Partisan politics make me crazy. Pundits, politicians, bloggers, and others who have an “Us vs. Them” mentality when it comes to making their points lose credibility with me in a hurry. If they want to persuade me, they must use facts and reason and logic, preferably with their sources cited. I love politics and I love discussing politics. I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. If I had to choose a party I’d probably be Libertarian. I choose not to choose, though. No party fits me perfectly.
I write for respect.
Name calling, stereotyping, finger-pointing, and blaming an opposing political party or some other person irritate me beyond reason. They are as irritating as a fly or mosquito. Their buzz and their whine are not words but an annoyance to be swatted away without much of a thought as to their purpose. I do not respect those who engage in such behavior. I will never do it myself. Respect is critical to real communication.
I write to make a point.
As a lawyer I have to make arguments that make sense to the judge and jury, opposing counsel, and my clients, so I strive to be careful in crafting my arguments. I encourage feisty, vigorous debate, but the arguments should always be backed up with facts and wherever possible with citations. I can be persuaded, but only with facts and a coherent argument.
I write as a craft.
Proper grammar, punctuation, spelling are essential. This is not to say I don’t make mistakes, but I correct them the moment I see them. It’s difficult to proofread one’s own work, and as hard as I try there will be things I don’t catch. Technically good writing is the bare minimum of what I expect of myself. I wish it was as important to others. I am fond of saying that my dream date would be with a guy who would drive me around and carry the bucket of red paint for me to dip my brush into so that I might correct the misplaced apostrophes on all the signs in public places. Does such a piratical Prince Charming exist? And will he carry a ladder tall enough for billboards?
I write to write well.
Style makes good writing great. I want to write with a style that stays with my reader. I want to write with a style that makes my point in a way that inspires reflection. I want to write with a style that inspires a belly-laugh. I want to write with a style that is readable and fun, readable and educational, readable and poignant.
I write because I have to write.
It’s me. My compulsion to write will never go away. It is as much a part of me as the knuckles on my fingers and the gray wisps in my hair. Even if I hide my compulsion to write it is still there, pushing me, moving my fingers unconsciously toward the pen, to pick it up.
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