Why I Write

by D. D. Falvo on March 27, 2012 | @ddfalvo

I freely admit that I’m a literary junkie. I live on stories the way a car needs fuel to run. It’s not so much an intellectual pursuit as it is a compulsion. When facing a dry well, I will, like any proper addict, succumb to read anything. The back of a cereal box works just fine for a quick fix.

It’s not my fault. This lifelong habit of loving books was fostered before I was old enough to know better. The resulting hunger always draws me back, for there is power in those ink-filled pages. The better the story, the more potent the spell. It is the ultimate magic trickI appear curled up in a quiet corner, but that is an illusion, for I am actually lost in another place or time. Of course, the imaginary world is never a replacement for the real one where I am happily entrenched as a wife, and busy mother of two daughters, but finding the time to feed that hunger is an eternal conflict. I resolve it the best way I know how. I burn the candle at both ends.

Putting a good book down is not in my nature. Armed with that knowledge, new adventures in print are kept at bay, waiting for the quiet moment where I might indulge for an undisturbed length of time. That would be ten o’clock at night, otherwise known as bedtime. One by one, my family members will kiss me goodnight. I will acknowledge their presence, briefly, while sinking deeper and deeper into my novel. My husband will enter the room (I think), sigh heavily, then leave with the admonishment, “Don’t stay up too late, honey, you need your sleep.” My response is always to assure him that I won’t.

I lie.

I don’t mean to, but as an addict, once possessed, I am lost. I even lie to myself, repeatedly, throughout the night—telling my weary body at midnight that I’ll stop once I’ve reached a certain point; appeasing my aching back at 1AM by shifting to new positions on the sofa—just one more chapter; deceiving my eyes at half past two—just one more page. My eyes balk, and the war of the orbs begins: they blur, I conquer and divide, offering each a brief respite for taking turns. They retaliate, inducing the slow burn and setting sails at half-mast. I enlist the aid of my fingers, propping my lids open by force. I promise myself that I will stop after the next bathroom break, then delay as my bladder screams abuse. I reprimand and cajole my body into giving me a little more time, a few more details, until the small hours of the night fade to an early dawn. By now I am done with the novel, but not with my deceit.

I know the running water as I brush my teeth will wake my husband. He might rear his head to check the late hour and, perhaps, scold me as I sneak into bed. His bedside clock is a nark, the dull red numbers glow like evil eyes: 4:30 AM. As a creature of some cunning, I cast a washcloth over it, avoiding the chastisement I so richly deserve, then submerge into the soft sheets. Five minutes later, the 6AM alarm screams and I must, painfully, begin a new day.

It’s absolutely worth it.

There are seasons in life when free time is a stranger, when even an extended evening can’t be spared. Commitments and priorities conspire, vying for time that I give willingly because the living are my most precious blessing and most vital need, but my desire for adventure does not wait patiently. Suffering from withdrawal, I seek to fill the void, spinning tales in my head for amusement and for my sanity. It is not enough. The ideas bounce around my brain, crying out for posterity, so I write them down and discover there is a world within me.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Bernadette Phipps-Lincke March 30, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I can so relate. Burning the candle at both ends is a necessity of soul, no? The SF writer, Phillip K. Dick, when asked why he wrote, replied: “Because reality doesn’t live up to my standards.”
As writers and readers, I think we can relate to that.

Awesome post! Thanks for sharing.

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D. D. Falvo March 30, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Oh, so very true, Bernadette. 🙂 Thank you for the wonderful quote, I love it!

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Vaughn Roycroft March 30, 2012 at 5:55 pm

In junior high and up through high school, I would drag myself out of bed in a complete stupor, much to my parents’ chagrin. This was because they knew I’d stayed up until two or three am, reading. I had an old friend recently remind me that I only came to life once I got to the bus stop, where the other kids would ask me about whatever I was reading. I would give a blow-by-blow account of my current obsession, all the way to school and sometimes until the first warning bell dispersed us to our respective classes. I asked my friend why they didn’t just tell me to shut up, already. He said he looked forward to it, and that he knew others did, too. He said, “You were just so passionate about it. You made the stories come to life.”

Like you, the obsession never really ended. Looks great around here, Denise! Bravo!

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D. D. Falvo March 30, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Lol, Vaughn. I can see you at the bus stop, surrounded by an attentive crowd. It is the passion that gives breath to our stories, yes? Thank you for the kind words and your fb support. 🙂

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Arlene (Teri) Wilson-White March 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Wow Denise, this definitely could have been me writing this. Couldn’t begin to count, the number of days, I set down my book on the night stand, to get ready for work. Books gave me the strength to cope and be refreshed, by taking me to other lands and introducing me to people of diverse nationalities, life styles and professions. I have been attributed as having much knowledge about many things over the years. The credit can only go to the contents of the books that have served me so well.
You have given me the privilege of reviewing your book before publication. I am still awed by the fantastic saga you have perceived and achieved in your writing. I cannot perceive how any publisher with any sense of really fantastic writing, could possibly reject the chance to publish “Stardust”. Good Luck and prayers and blessings for prompt success.

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D. D. Falvo March 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Ah . . . well, the proverbial apple never falls far from the family tree, does it? lol. I have been blessed to be part of a wonderful family that values educating the mind, and believes defeat only happen when you don’t try. 🙂 Thank you, always, for your love and support. <3

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Deborah April 2, 2012 at 10:48 pm

LOL, sister like sister………………………Wish Dale was that nice though, I always get the ‘Do you know what time it is?’ . Of course I do but I do not care! I have to read the end of the story. Luv ya and congrats!

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D. D. Falvo April 3, 2012 at 12:13 am

🙂 Well, remember, I don’t actually let him know the time– and if he asks, there’s always the deflect and run tactic. Thanks, Deb.

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