Writing is such a solitary activity. Day after day, alone with the computer, or the paper pad and a pen. And yet there's something quite social at the heart of writing, I think, at least in its motivation and intention. Through it, one leans outward.
People's lives - my own and others' - are endlessly fascinating. In writing, I can explore that variety, see what it's about, this being alive and human in all its terror and glory.
I think too that I'm looking for company. And help. I want to know how to live, how to get through, and I need more than what my own experiences provide. Stories help. They help a lot. I watch and connect with the characters in stories - even the characters I've written myself. (It sounds circular, but it's not.)
But there's more involved in writing than curiosity or help. I've never forgotten something I heard Martha Nussbaum say in an interview with Eleanor Wachtel. The gist of it was that fiction is important because it allows us to imagine the value of other people's lives; thus, it nurtures compassion, it teaches us to love.
I think that's it. Writing is an act of imagination, understanding, and love. One leans outward, yes, and it's humbling and it's good.
(Photo: CMU Press)
Author Dora Dueck will be interviewed on the Weekend Morning Show with host Keran Sanders on Sunday April 10 at 8:40 a.m.
The content is provided by Dora Dueck. The views expressed do not represent the views of CBC. CBC is not responsible for the content.