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Why I write


Why I write

Why I write

In her book Out of Africa, the Danish author Isak Dinesen famously advised writers to write a little every day, without hope and without despair. This profound statement captures the essence of disciplined and resilient writing. It reminds us that success as a writer is not measured by the size of our accomplishments or the grandeur of our dreams but by the consistency and persistence of our efforts. So, let us take Dinesen’s wise words to heart and pin them on the wall above our desks, as a reminder to keep writing with courage, conviction, and joy, no matter what challenges we may face along the way.

Back in 1987 if someone told me that I’d become a writer one day, I’d give him a funny look and laugh. At school I was lousy at writing; neither writing nor reading interested me. I found school boring and the only thing I cared about was hanging out with my friends, smoking cigarettes, drinking beers out of cans, shooting pool, going to discos, and flirting with girls.

Wanting to be a writer was an undiscovered fantasy. Back then my passions were different. Every time I watched an interesting movie my passions would take on different forms, colors, and shapes. For example, after watching the film Top Gun I wanted to become a pilot.

In a week, I bought a pair of Ray-bans, a flight jacket and I had my hair cut. Hour after hour, I would stand in front of the mirror practicing pickup lines and body moves. Every morning before breakfast, I’d hit the floor and do pushups until my face would turn red and the veins at my temples were about to burst open. The only thought in my head was of becoming a pilot. It was a job that would land me at the gates of where the gods lived, and it would turn me into a semi-immortal.

No sooner had I watched a new film than my desire to become a pilot went up in smoke. After watching the film Taxi Driver, I wanted to be like Travis the driver – drive around the city at night and clean it up of all the filth and scam. Dressed in a military jacket, boots, and jeans, I drove a dented and rusty 1976 Fiat Racing, which leaked oil, guzzled gas, and would start to wobble when, on the dashboard, the needle hit 60.

In less than a month I had to quit that project flat out. As I was exhausted from staying awake at night – driving in back alleys, along the seaside where all the action played out, and of course in the red-light districts - I would fall asleep on top of my desk during class and was running the risk of being suspended from school. When my parents threatened to put an end to my allowances, the Travis business was done and over with. A couple of months later after I had watched the American Gigolo ... well you get the picture.

For many years my passions carried me along, broke the routine of my life, and made it more appealing. It wasn’t until after a decade had passed, and after traveling the world, reading books, and watching movies, that the idea of writing a story or a script began to emerge out of the dark.

I write because I like the way letters appear to my eyes; I like their elegance and grace; I like letters’ rhythm and music, their geometry, and their magic. I see letters as the building blocks of words; and I see words as the building blocks of our physical, mental, and spiritual world. It is a world veiled in mystique and mystery waiting to be discovered.

Each writer has a unique way of looking at the world around him and so do I. I enjoy writing about everyday things like a chair in the shadow of a fully bloomed tree, a cigarette burning in an ashtray, a cup of steaming coffee, a forest, a man looking out of the window, a woman walking her dog across a bridge, a cemetery, a man hunched over his drink at a bar, a cat trotting down the street with a mouse in her mouth. I enjoy looking at these things and contemplating how they appear and speak to me, and how they make me feel. When those things have fermented in me, I sit at my desk and write about them. And when I write, I try to lift these everyday things out of their normality, dust them down, hold them up against the light, and try and discover in them new truths, new secrets, and new awakenings.

I enjoy how words paint pictures in our minds. At the same time, I find it fascinating to discover that these pictures can look and feel, taste, and sound far better than the world we live in. Whether these pictures travel us into the future or take us back into the past, they might feel better than the reality we experience.

What made me want to write has changed over the years. At first, I wanted to write so I could surf on the waves of fame, make lots of money and hang out in literary cafes, smoke cigarettes and feel important. But, by and by, that ambition has faded. Today I write for myself and I am certain and happy that writing has become an instinctive need for me.

In the past years, I’ve written free-verse poetry, and short stories, edited and translated a book, and I am now finishing a novel. Poetry and stories of the kind I want to read. For example, how does it feel to be sick or healthy, in love or out of love, happy or sad, frustrated and brokenhearted? How does it feel to be old living in an old house waiting for the inevitable to happen and nothing to fall back on but memories? How does it feel to be a rape victim while most of the so-called friends have turned their backs on you? What do you do when you look in the mirror and your face is bruised? How does it feel to be an alcoholic or a drug addict? How does the sun feel on our faces in the winter? And would we go out of our way to help others?

Every day, I am confronted by these realities, and the need to turn the ink into blood on paper increases. Simultaneously, I wish to put my thoughts in order and let my passions, fears, and my secrets find their way into my characters’ lives. Together with them, I wish to embark on a journey and give voice to people who don’t dare to speak.

Since good literature is an art form and it could engage readers mentally and emotionally - my goal is to be able, through my stories - to remind them of the essential truths that make life worth living. Through the characters, conflicts, and themes that inhabit my writing, I aim to convey the message that to live is to fight back against injustice, to think is to create an honest and meaningful life, and to act is to build a better world for ourselves and others.

Literature, at its best, is a means of awakening our conscience, broadening our horizons, and deepening our humanity. By immersing ourselves in the stories of others, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us and be inspired to act toward a more honest and compassionate society. I hope that my writing will not only entertain and enlighten but also challenge and empower my readers to live their best lives and make a positive difference in the world.

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