Visiting the Page

Photo by Assem Al-Sabban
I got to thinking this morning what it means to me to be a writer and whether what it means for you is all that far different. Who are we writers? Why do we bother, when some 5,000 books a day are published and millions of blogs as well? The chances of being heard in all that noise is like humming at a rock concert. Yet we do it. Week after week and year after year, we do it. I think of my work as visiting the page.

For me, it seems like the beginning of a conversation and if there's one thing I love to do, it's spin out thoughts to friends and encourage them to respond. Ah, you say, but friends are a smaller group yet and of course you are right.

So I settle for the several hundred readers who may see my work on a regular basis and imagine them as an audience standing before me. The only thing lacking is a question-and-answer period and I miss that the most of all. It's difficult to have a conversation all by yourself at the keyboard, a little like singing in the shower, but I imagine one and try to write as if it were happening.

If I'm lucky, it does happen. If I'm lucky, there's not the blind agreement of an audience sitting through a lecture, but argument in its best meaning. Conversation, when it works and is meaningful, is argument--the back-and-forth that changes minds on both sides, or at least makes us thoughtful of another position.

For you, I don't know if what I've said resonates or not. So argue with me. I'd love it, eager to listen and learn.