I'm just going to come out and say it: I'm selfish and self-indulgent. Up to a point. But especially when it comes to MY writing. Notice the use of 'MY' in capitals, meaning it belongs to me and nobody else. I hoard the time it requires and wrap the words, those written or those waiting to be, around myself same as I do when I hug my person which I do all too often. Freud would possibly say I'm self-comforting.
Well...my instant reaction would be to deny that statement. Who
admits to their weaknesses straight off? And it's not altogether
strictly true anyway. (See!) The wrapped arms is usually because I
don't know what else to do with them as they are rather orang-outang-
like, and because I also hold this misguided notion that in doing so
it generates warmth, although I recognise there are times when it
probably is a comfort thing. A self-seeking reassurance. It's not as
so-called body language experts might suggest a defensive mechanism
which should always be read as such.
I have my own weird language that not even the best or those with a
smattering of knowledge can decipher. No, seriously I don't think I'm
that special; just your average 1980s model with a few quirks: some
software faults which could easily be fixed but my system refuses to
does the selfishness come in? Perhaps I mean stubborn...can you be
one without the other? To put your own interests first you have to be
steely, though I try to ensure my selfishness doesn't cause any
others harm. The choices I've made have been precisely to avoid that
– to prevent hurt or resentment – and yet some of those have led
to accusations of doing exactly that, whereas I think I've acted with
the utmost consideration: I've examined the circumstances and decided
in that role or situation I'd be found wanting. Surely it's better to
know oneself than not at all?
back to writing. Writers, I think, are a self-serving breed, (I
hesitate to classify myself as a 'Writer' because that implies it's
'Work' and it's not, it's a creative exercise that allows the self to
breathe. I write for myself and nobody else; I don't write for an
audience which is yet another example of my selfish bent), because
anything could be used as material, the sensitive, the confidential,
the snatched conversation, the overheard snippets. It all feeds! The
world is a feast literally for the eyes and ears. Truths might get
twisted, but it's come from somewhere. Writing, including retelling
and re-working another's famed work (even if I don't think it's
called for) is always exploratory and experimental.
I believe there's always an element of you in the guise of different
voices: a girl, a boy, a woman, a man, a bit-part player, an animal,
a narrator; a character that enables you to express what you might be
unable to in the everyday, or because a set of circumstances you've
given a character did not personally arise. Writers concern
themselves with the what
if? question, which in many ways pertains to the 'I', because even if
you consider yourself separate from your creation you still have to
walk in their shoes, hear with their ears and see with their eyes.
fictional or non-fictional, escapes close examination.
Picture Credit: Escher's father with magnifying glass, 1920, M. C. Escher