How is writing rewarding? It can’t be the satisfaction of finishing because you never think you’re done. It can’t be the sales figures, because if you let those determine happiness, you’ll be a manic depressive (which I guess, to some extent, many writers are).
Yesterday night, which was actually tomorrow afternoon in Australia, which is now yesterday afternoon, I skyped into the writing class I teach in Hawkesdale , Australia to give my writing students a little treat – I had sent copies of my book Pharmacology over there because I wanted to thank them for sticking with the class and getting into the writing lessons we did.
Their teacher, as most teachers tend to do, created a whole party around the event – and had me present the books to each student with some of their parents looking on. As I talked to each one of the young students- all of them wanting to be writers in some way – I remembered why I enjoyed putting words down. How it freed my mind just a bit from the madness that is everyday life.
How it is the one place – the written word, where you can shape exactly how you feel and light the situation with your own views and understanding. Teaching, in many ways, allows that act of sharing knowledge to be heard not only by the students, but by the teachers as well. It is that next step in the connections I seek with everything I do – and I think many writers share this, but we become lost in the business of books and publishing – which then drowns out the writer in us.
That line is so blurred – there is no getting around it because, after all, it is your livelihood - but, yesterday, I again realized that it is something much more. Much greater.
We are all part of a tradition – a lineage, and that in itself is very sublime. It’s a constant exchange – writer to reader, teacher to student – and with technology today, it flows back – from reader to writer, from student to teacher. That’s the power of all of these gizmos and apps and software we have. It’s electrical current – shocking in it’s power.
Hooking up with these kids and others like them is like water for me – I need it to refresh my soul and remind myself why I do this. I remember being their age, in the classroom when everyone else was running around the schoolyard and I was there, thinking, wondering, dreaming – about ideas and reality beyond the swing set.
Perhaps its genetic – the writer gene.