I think my soul would shrivel up and die if I didn’t make things for a living. Not “make” in the sense of putting solid elements together, but “make” in the sense of creating. I go to work, and I create things that didn’t exist before I sat down that day. I’m hardly uncovering new philosophical realms, but I’m still creating.
It took only a brief sojourn into life outside of the creative realm to realize that I never want to do anything else. There’s no better feeling that realizing that you’ve spent your day putting something new out into the world. It exists because of you.
Admittedly, maybe that’s an egotistical way of looking at it – but aren’t all writers a little egotistical? We want to leave things behind that last after we’re gone. Whether I’m writing jewelry commercials or working on poetry in my spare time, it’s still something that comes directly from me, and wouldn’t exist unless I was there to write it. That sort of idea gives me a great sense of purpose sometimes (whether it’s deserved or not).
Because really, outside of children, what do we leave behind? I mean concretely, not in an abstract sense. Don’t get me wrong – I want to leave the world a better place for having been here, and I want people’s lives to have been better because I was around. I try every day to make that the case. But I’d like more than that, too. A lasting mark that changes lives even decades after I’m gone. Does everyone want that? Or are some people happy to fade peacefully away?
I just wonder if I’ll ever have it in me to create something – write something – that is so beautiful that people sit around one hundred years from now reading it, and they are still moved. I feel guilty sometimes for aspiring to greatness like that. Grasping at a certain kind if immortality, as it were. Because who am I, anyway? No different than anyone else.
But maybe that’s the point.
Who are we, anyway, not to try?