This post, from Paul Anderson, originally appeared on the Write Anything blog on 7/19/09.
Than you to everyone for your suggestions at the end of last week’s petulant whine appeal for ideas. I’ve got an idea for a few different articles based on suggestions, but I thought the first one to address should be something that Rob asked, as it seems to be one of the first things to address – why do we write?
Well, I can’t really speak for anyone else, I can only say why I write, and give thoughts on what I perceive to be the general urge to write.
All life is story and myth. We tell stories about ourselves every day, in gossip, in conversation, in blogs and emails and telephone calls. “You’ll never guess who I met”, “did you hear about Sandy”, “I’m so excited I just have to tell you….”
Our popular entertainment consists almost exclusively of stories. Drama, comedy, horror, fantasy, science fiction, romance on television, DVD, the movies, radio, online (even books!).
Even current affairs and news is a form of storytelling, depending on the point of view you want to put across from supposedly objective events (or in some cases events cut from whole cloth). The news is myth in the making, before passing into the realms of history, myths that are generally accepted.
Religion too comes down to storytelling, an esoteric myth to history’s exoteric myths.
Stories impart essential information, warnings about dangers, and explanations for how things are. Humans are curious, curious about everything, and stories are how we explain things. From reminiscing about our greatest hunts and warnings of the dangers lurking in the dark, to how we came to set foot on the moon, our existence is told and retold through stories.