I write for attention. I so wanted a purer, nobler, more literary reason–an inextinguishable artistic fire, that I would combust were it not for my beloved words, the melodic sentence, my lifeblood. Not me. While I work my tail off to get the language right, my writing finds its roots in common childhood deprivation: I want to be heard, seen, possibly cared for, but not as myself. Too risky. I operate through quirky, banged-up characters. My characters yearn or are in pain or do their utmost to outrun their pain. I pray my readers feel this; that they care, even if they dislike a given character.
The other reason I write is because I can. I’m halfway decent at it. I consider this a gift and feel strongly that it is my responsibility to use it or it’s wasted. This may be the artistic fire I’m afraid I lack. Instead of burning me up, mine presents as a constant, a knowing, how I’ve always been, like sister or daughter.
Besides, writing brings me great pleasure. A word, the EXACT-RIGHT verb–most recently “avoid,” delivered to my head while driving on Clark Street–can make everything all right. Of course writing also hurts like a mother. I’m never doing it as much as I should or well enough. Still, as often as I can I pick up my pen or tap at my keys and, hopefully, I’ll move, or confuse, or crack you up, whatever it takes to get you to feel something for me.
- Why Write? #21: Coley Gallagher - July 15, 2013
- Snatch - January 17, 2013