“I was excited…”
“I was excited; I read it over and saw that there was a yawning void in it. There was no plot, no action, nothing save atmosphere and longing and death. But I had never in my life done anything like it; I had made something, no matter how bad it was; and it was mine . . . I decided to read it to a young woman who lived next door. I interrupted her as she was washing dishes and, swearing her to secrecy, I read the composition aloud. When I finished she smiled at me oddly, her eyes baffled and astonished.
” ‘What’s that for?’ she asked.
” ‘Nothing,’ I said.
” ‘But why did you write it?’
” ‘I just wanted to.’
” ‘Where did you get the idea?’
“I wagged my head, pulled down the corners of my mouth. stuffed my manuscript into my pocket, and looked at her in a cocky manner that said: Oh, it’s nothing at all. I write stuff like this all the time. It’s easy, if you know how.
” ‘Oh, I don’t know. I just thought it up.’
” ‘What’re you going to do with it?’
“God only knows what she thought. My environment contained nothing more alien than writing or the desire to express one’s self in writing. But I never forgot the look of astonishment and bewilderment on the young woman’s face when I finished reading and glanced at her. Her inability to grasp what I had done or was trying to do somehow gratified me. Afterwards whenever I thought of her reaction I smiled happily for some unaccountable reason.”
This quote, from Richard Wright’s Black Boy, is an account of his sharing the first story he ever wrote. Somehow, it captures exactly how I feel about being a writer of fiction.
The unexplainable draw of writing. The unexplainable need to make up stories. The unexplainable joy of having created something that is yours, and yours alone. And how so few people can understand what compels you to do it.