Monday, September 10, 2012

"To Write Or Not To Write" By Susan H. Roddey

To Write, or Not To Write…

There is no question.

There is no option. I write because I have to. I’m compelled to do it. I don’t have any other choice. When I was little, my Dad used to tell people that my imagination meant that I’d grow up to be one of two things: a writer or a serial killer.

Lucky for him, I chose the former. Granted, there are times when I write about serial killers, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be the one to go out and knife someone in the throat. Those that know me know that I can’t stand to squash bugs, much less hurt other people. I’m very much that bleeding heart hippie-chick that can’t stand to see anyone or anything suffer. I’m the crazy cat lady. I crochet prayer shawls and volunteer my time. I try to feed everyone that comes into my house.

I get it honestly. My Mom is the same way.

That’s neither here nor there, though.

Alexx asked me recently about writing and what it means to me. Most people can probably spout off a glib answer in a matter of seconds, something like “writing is my life.” But for me there is no easy answer. I could say that its part of my soul, but even that sounds trite and simplistic compared to the depth of my love for words. Like I said a minute ago, I write because I feel compelled. It’s something I have to do.

Honoré de Balzac said, “I am a galley slave to pen and ink”, and that is quite possibly the closest statement to the truth I have ever found. Slavery to the craft is definitely an appropriate metaphor. Whether I’m actually good at it or not is irrelevant. I don’t have a choice. If I’m not writing, I’m not happy.

In high school I studied a lot of literature. It was the only thing that ever truly interested me.  I was good at school, but I didn’t particularly care why the numbers worked the way they did or why the price of grain goes up when there’s a drought. I read The Grapes of Wrath because I could. Creative writing assignments never stayed within the three-to-five page limit.

I don’t remember exactly what I was doing but I came across something that really spoke to me. I read a play by Graham Greene, and my natural instinct was to learn more. While studying him, I came across something he said.

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”

There is truth to that mad statement. Writing is a catharsis. An escape. A way out of trouble. Regardless of my talent and ability, I write because I need to write. If I were to step away from the publishing world today and never, ever let another one of my stories into the world, I would not stop writing. It’s who I am. Writing defines me, much like music defines a composer or wine embodies the spirit of a vintner. I write for release, for love, for anger. For me.

When my father died earlier this year, I wrote. And I kept writing until I had what is now my latest release, Devil s Daughter. Writing this story helped purge my initial grief. Through the story I was able to give not myself, but one of my characters a second chance. She was able to do the one thing I couldn’t do and while it wasn’t much consolation, it provided a modicum of peace. I wrote this story for me, and wasn’t sure it was even publishable until Alexx read it for me. So I took her advice, and here we are.

I may not be a master wordsmith. I may never win great awards – those decisions are not mine to make. All I can do is put forth the effort to create, then set it free for others to enjoy.  The day I stop writing will be the day I stop living. Regardless of outside enjoyment, writing, simply, is what I do.

I have come to live by these words, spoken by the late Ray Bradbury:

“You only fail if you stop writing.”

I promise, Mr. Bradbury…I will never stop writing.

More on S.H. Roddey:






Devil’s Daughter

Urban Fantasy
Release Date: September 6, 2012
No Boundaries Press

Lydia St. Clair was seventeen when she made her first deal with The Devil. Now twenty-one years old and a professional bounty hunter, Lydia possesses a unique set of skills that make her valuable to Lucifer’s grand plans. In the four years since that fateful night she has come full-circle, and now her nemesis has come back to collect on that debt.

Unfortunately for Lydia, He has leverage that will leave her questioning her own humanity.

Where to get it:

Amazon | No Boundaries Store

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