Monday, February 10, 2014

Aaron Bradford Starr Shares Why He Writes

I've met Aaron over at AQC connect.  He has a lot of great insights, and has a great blog Imaginary Friend you should check it out sometime.

Aaron Bradford Starr's Photo

Anyway we've been talking blog swap, and so today's guest is Aaron.  I had a post over on his blog last week.  Aaron has published short stories, paintings, and interior art in Black Gate Magazine, black Gate Online, and the magazine Stupefying Stories.

So here is today's guest blogger:
Why I Write

The question of why a writer writes is much like why people do anything. But, underlying my own urge to write is a motivation few chose for themselves: my approaching death.

Before you get the impression that I'm sick and counting days, or healthy but morbid, let me assure you I am neither. I am healthy, but I count my awareness of my own time to be part of that health, not a detriment. Let me explain how I came to feel as I do, so you can better understand how this can act as a positive motivator, and get one writing.

When I was around ten, it was 1981. The Cold War was going on, and getting worse. This was also about the age when the truth about mortality truly strikes home for many children, the thought If I'm alive, one day I will die. A dreadful thought, undeniable and inescapable. .

Though many dodge around this realization with religious beliefs, I’d never been able to sustain these. Death awaited, somewhere in the future. Thoughts of nuclear war loomed large, to those us us coming of age in the 1980s. If I can just make it to 30, I reasoned, I'll feel lucky. But the possibility of being snuffed out in short order was everywhere, closer even than we knew at the time.

A lethargy came over me. Much like clinical depression, I could not escape the thought of oblivion, and so, one night, I sat alone, and decided to follow the thought as far as it led, since trying to avoid it was was proving impossible.

I would, one day, vanish.

I remember pondering, reducing what I knew to be true to ever-simpler core truths. In then end, I found myself looking at my own hand, thinking about it at a fundamental level.

If I exist now, I reasoned, it was because my living stuff existed. Atoms, and chemicals. My death would cause these things to spread out once more, and, given time, to completely be swept back up into the Earth's own living systems. What I feared, I realized, was a phantom conception of death. I feared continued awareness, blind and unfeeling without a body. What I feared wasn't really death at all, but eternal life, relegated to some spot underground, trapped where my body had once been buried. But the entire chain of my reasoning had started with chemicals, and atoms. My stuff.

Fearing eternal continued awareness when thinking about death made no sense at all. I'd gotten those chemicals from other formerly living things, after all. If I was me, it was because my stuff had, until recently, been some other living thing. That was true, and self-evident every time I ate. This was, at worst, my fate: to quickly rejoin the parade of life in a diffusion of other beings.

And this is the thought that keeps me producing not just writing, but other creative work. I am the swirl of chemicals that creates. I am the self-sustaining system that thinks and imagines. If I do not create these stories, no one else ever will. I write to leave an imprint on the universe, among the other thinking swirls. Ripples in a pond, and destined to fade, perhaps, but worth creating all the same.

Because the universe waited thirteen billion years for my arrival, and if I don't make these ripples, I'm missing a once-in-a universe chance.

And that is a pretty good motivator. No pressure there!