by Hannah Lydeamore, Age 17, Australia
Why I Write
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway
That quote, which for much of this year was written on my bathroom mirror, is the one I read everyday for months on end, and this is the truest line I have ever known.
I don’t remember the first time I wrote; it wasn’t a spectacular moment of pouring my soul through a pencil and onto a blank sheet of paper. Really, it was probably just my four-year-old self trying to convey to my prep teacher what I did on the weekend. My nearly illegible handwriting, filled with so many spelling and grammatical errors, perched haphazardly on the blue lines of my book (possibly not looking so different from my writing today).
All I know is that at that moment I was cursed with a mind filled with words and an unsustainable need to get them on paper. My imagination is constantly running wild, and it can be very difficult to keep it under control at times.
I am a self-confessed control freak. I love always getting my way, having things work out precisely as I wanted them to and, if I like something, having it stay exactly as it is. (Just ask my family about the meltdowns which can occur if change is unwanted and unexpected). Unfortunately, I cannot control very much of my life. Writing gives me that control. I know it sounds awful, but I truly love that fact that the characters in my stories are under my control and at my mercy as I have them dropped into volcanoes and chased of cliffs.
A few months ago, my life got pretty crazy; I was stressed to breaking point, everything felt out of control, and I really wasn’t coping. One night, I was crying on the phone to a friend, telling him about how messy everything had become. The first words that came out of his mouth were, “You’ve stopped writing, haven’t you?”
It was true, I hadn’t written for a very long time.
It has been said, (I don’t remember who exactly said it; but I know someone did), that writers do not write because they want to, they write because they need to.
I need to. Without words, sentences, paragraphs, and novels, my world is confusing and terrifying. I write to make sense of the things I don’t understand and to explain the things I do. Recently, I got in touch with children’s author Penny Reeve (my dad’s attempt to find someone who could talk me into getting a real job), who said that “if writing is your heart’s thing––then you’re going to have to do it whether it’s your job or not.” Writing is probably not going to end up being my career, but it is something I will always do.
“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” – Natalie Goldburg
Writing has become my way of dealing with life, death, and one of the most hated words in my vocabulary, feelings. I absolutely despise talking about my feelings, and I get uncomfortably awkward when other people tell me about their own. If someone was to ask me to tell them about myself, about my hopes and fears and feelings, I would most likely shrink back, shut that person out, and lock and bolt the door. However, give me an empty notebook and a pen, and fairly soon you would have gained full access to the inner working of my somewhat twisted mind. All of a sudden, you would find that I am not exactly the shy quiet girl the world believes I am. Rather, I am capable of dreaming up the most heart-breaking deaths, witty sarcasm, and beautiful romances. I have brought people to tears of sadness and laughter with swirls of ink scrawled across paper.
Writing has taught me a lot about myself and who I am, rather than the many different people who I pretend to be. I believe that any obstacle can be overcome; you just need the right perspective. When I write things down and change the angle slightly, things can often become clearer. I also put great value in fairytales. One of my other favourite quotes is by Neil Gaiman, who said, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” Writing has shown me that I can beat my dragons and that I can handle anything life can and will throw at me.
Hannah writes: “I am a dreamer, I am a lover of words, I am a writer.”
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