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Monday July 9, 2001
Guilty of the Zen of Writing
But, it is the only way I get
a handle on the world...

By I. Wright, Contributor

    FRESNO CAMPUS -- I am not a writer. Well, I guess I am in the sense that I put words into text, but I am not the kind of writer that most news journalists apparently are.
     I am not out to write the next great American novel or win the Pulitzer Prize. I have been published but it was literary stuff written more as a labor of love than to make a name or a buck for myself (good thing too because it didn't).
     I don't swim in the predator laden waters of publishing. I just write.
     Recently I have had this voracious need to write. When I am not writing, I am composing letters, essays, and stories in my head. I am currently working on a novel. It's pretty good by my own exacting and self effacing standards.
     However, just like my first one, it will perhaps be viewed by a couple of my closest loved ones but will ultimately end up being stored and forgotten on a piece of magnetic media.Who cares?
     The joy is in the writing itself. I do write purely for the joy of writing.   I simply embrace the art.
     I like playing with language and making words dance to my tune. I love the feeling of being able to create a Universe and have it act according to my whim.
     I relish the power of being able to invoke emotion in people through the simple medium of the printed word.  For me, this is enough.
     I have a friend who is an author as well as an agent. My attitude makes her crazy. She tells me that I am a gifted writer and that, considering some of the crap that makes it into print, I could make a nice living from writing.
     Well, I make a nice living anyway and prefer to keep my writing as a pleasure instead of a task.
     Have you seen the movie "Caddyshack"? If so, you might recall Chevy Chase's character, Ty. He was a phenomenal golfer- he could even make putts blindfolded- but he refused to play for money. This drove the other golfers nuts.
     They could not understand how he could turn his back on a potential mint. I can understand.
     For me, writing is sacred. I have fought battles, comforted friends, and I even met the love of my life, the wonderful woman I am married to, through simple words in print. It is the way I get a handle on the world.
     Sometimes the things of life- good and bad- simply overwhelm me and I have to write about them to get them into perspective. It is my therapy.
     I love getting up early on Sunday when the whole world is asleep and sitting down at the computer with a cappuccino and just writing. There is no greater pleasure that does not involve interpersonal friction.
     So, like Ty, performing my art for money would somehow take the magic out of it. I can not imagine my writing becoming secondary to arguing with agents, placating editors, or making deals with publishers.
     I wish I could just write stuff and hand it to someone else to hassle with all of the requirements of business. That would be my perfect world. Alas, I may have to change this attitude.
     After the kid heads for the ivy covered halls, my wife and I want to travel. The only portable job I can think of is writing, so I may have to try my hand at freelancing.
     I think I will be sad then. I imagine it will be like losing an old friend. That is when my pleasure will turn to labor.
     Oh, well, no sense borrowing trouble. Until then, my Zen shall remain a secret.
     I will keep working on my novel and writing my essays, letters, stories, and even Usenet posts just for the sheer pleasure of seeing the medium of language crafted into the sharing of thoughts and ideas.
     Art for art's sake works for me.


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