“Like many writers, I am, first and foremost, a reader.” I can’t remember where this sentence comes from, but its importance has grown. See, front and centre on my laptop is a text file. Amongst other things, it contains a statement of my priority, which is directly influenced by the sentence above. My priority is also influenced by a question I asked myself recently: “If today I were to pass away, what would I most lament not having done?” The answer was immediate and obvious: “Writing the things I want to write.”
I have ideas I want to share, stories I want to tell, and questions I want to ask and attempt to answer. It would be a great, personal tragedy for these things to go with me to the grave. I thought my priority should reflect this, so I made it, quite simply, “Write.” But upon further reflection, I realised that this was too shallow. Where does my drive to write, to speak, to ask and to record come from? As I watched a Lord of the Rings movie with the woman I love, the answered revealed itself.
I write because I have read. I write because I am inspired by great works of imagination, by individuals who have created alternate universes using their mind as the primary instrument. I write because I am awestruck by the masterpieces of philosophy, psychology, history, science and strategy. I write because books—and more accurately, their authors—have done me a great kindness, and I wish pass the favour along, if only in a small way. Thus, my priority is “Read, write.”