I like writers.
I like them as people.
Writers like to work with words. And ideas. Writers are thinkers. Ponderers.
And I like people who think and ponder.
We writers love to have our ideas stirred up, to have our opinions challenged.
And writing helps us process that swirling mass of intertwined thoughts inside our heads.
We have limber imaginations. We let words transport us.
We do more living in our heads than non-writers. We harbor more secret lives, walk down unexplored paths. We play out scenarios, invent new worlds, write whole books in our minds.
We don’t live just one life. One life is not enough for us. We try out and walk around in many lives.
That is why we are so wise.
We are watchers. And sometimes we observe life more than we live it.
We have looked at the world through so many different pairs of eyes, and strained ourselves to understand the motivations of others. And for this reason, we have an extraordinary capacity for empathy (what with our giant anterior insular cortexes).
(It is entirely probable – likely even – that we are more highly evolved than the rest of the human species, but I recommend we keep that to ourselves.)
And writers, I think, are not always the people they appear to be on the surface. There are hidden depths buried within. Subterranean seas.
Writers are idea hoarders – the way dragons hoard treasure. Ideas grow like weeds in our minds, and we are forever picking and recording them somewhere. We tend to have lots of little notes about us. Scraps of paper, or sticky notes, or audio recordings, or digital notes – ideas are always leaking out of us, and we have an inner compulsion to capture and record them before they escape us.
Ideas are like itches we have to scratch.
Sometimes, just a handful of words written on the torn off corner of a notebook – Open sign, train station, mist – can summon whole new worlds in our mind.
We are meaning-hunters, always digging away for scraps of meaning, trying to make sense of the world around us and put it into words.
We suffer from a lot of the same maladies.
We sometimes wish more than we work, and dream more than we act.
We imagine that we write more than we actually do.
We are often guilty of loving our own words a little too much, clinging to a phrasing – to the extent that we get stuck, hooked on it. Sometimes for hours. Days. Weeks!
We are utterly unique among humankind for having near equal quantities of narcissism and self-doubt. And rather than blending together to create a balanced mental state, these two extremes of perception – like oil and water – refuse to mix. We vacillate between confidence in our greatness and equal confidence that we have absolutely no business calling ourself a writer as there is nothing we have to say that anyone would ever want to hear, and we will never be as good as other writers – forgetting for that moment, that we actually are quite good.
We have days, when we realize with hopeless despair, that everything has already been said. And what, then, is the point, really?
Our worrying tendency toward perfectionism – the paralyzing sort – has left countless worthy books locked inside our heads, gathering dust upon lonely shelves, and floating, forgotten, in a cloud somewhere.
And we are chronically underpaid (owing to our tendencies toward introversion, self-doubt, and a basic inability to demand what we are worth (because we can’t seem to make up our own minds on that score).
Writers are good folk. (So are farmers, by the way, and people who sell flowers, and also veterinarians.)
If my car were to break down on a lonely road, at night, in the middle of nowhere (and considering the state of many writers’ cars, including my own – this is not such an improbability), I would want to be picked up by a writer. If there are no writers about, then I’d settle for a florist, a farmer, or a vet.
Within our ranks, there are (I am willing to bet) a disproportionately large percentage of recluses, shut-ins, and stalkers (what with our propensity for solitude and intense watching coupled with our over-active imaginations). However, these stalkers are the harmless sort, because they have an outlet – they go home and write about it.
We drink more coffee than might be good for us. And historically, we smoked too much.
We are not adrenaline junkies. We writers (as a general rule) are more easily overwhelmed by excessive stimulation. We don’t need noise, and 3 second videos, and flashing lights to hold our attention.
We are drawn to the stillness and possibility of a clean white page. We like to dive deep and lose ourselves.
Writers are patient. To write takes time. To read takes time.
And we writers are readers.
I also like readers.