He said, “I’ve never written anything just for fun.”
I wish I could show you the look of absolute incredulity on his face as he said it. I’m sure it was identical to my own expression at the time. You see, he was responding to my remark that my writing group “gets me writing things I wouldn’t normally, just for fun.”
I could see it in his eyes. Did Not Compute. Whereas I couldn’t process the idea of writing not being fun.
He has a message to deliver to the world, and his writing life is geared towards developing the right voice to broadcast his message. I am the kid playing in the corner with coloured pens and strings of words while the grown-ups do the Important Stuff.
Good for him. And good for me too. Both approaches are equally valid. We all have our own ways of being and our own ways of writing – not to mention our own reasons for doing it in the first place. There’s no one Right Way. Your way, his way, my way: they’re all right. And one day, for a time, I might adopt his way, or he might try mine, or we might both discover yours. If it works, do it. If it doesn’t, try something new.
I have to end with one of my favourite quotes. I’m not sure I fully understand it (I am, after all, a child at heart), but I love the playful use of words, and it seems appropriate to so many things. It’s from Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead: