Why I Write

The most honest answer is I simply because I have to.  It’s a compulsion from somewhere deep within me. I used to write for so many other reasons. I used to write because it helped me say things that I wasn’t able to say face to face. In my writings in various storage spaces are letters that I have never sent. A whole pile of them gathering dust that the recipient will never read. I wrote as a kind of personal therapy. I wrote because I needed to express an emotion, thought, idea, dream or vision. I remember once a few years ago having a dream. vivid, real and troubling. I thought writing about it it would help me understand it. What I learned was that in trying to capture a moment that in real time was no more than a few minutes took over two hours and nearly two thousand words to write about (rough draft).  I used to keep a journal in which I tried to record my thoughts and feelings of the time. I wrote religiously for over a decade. So much was going on I wrote a lot. Sadly they were lost in a fire. (To be honest there’s more to it than that which you can read about in my forthcoming Memoir Tomalogues) I’ve written lyrics and poetry. I wrote essays and a thesis at University none of which I have (lost in the fire) Short stories in different genres to find my voice. Then a very large gap where dealing with the challenges of life pushed writing aside. 

I then met my partner and everything in my life changed. None more so than two days after I moved cities for us to move into our new apartment together when the first lockdown was announced. We were thrown into a situation that we hadn’t expected let alone planned for. My priority was to find a job that would enable me to pay my share of this new apartment of ours. After almost two weeks my partner came home and picked a moment to sit me down and have a talk. What he said next changed our lives in so many different and often unexpected ways. He asked me a question. A really probing and thought provoking question. “If money and time were no object what would you do with your life?” The thing that was most surprising to me is that I barely took a moment to give him an answer. “Easy, I’d be a writer. People have been telling me I should write for years now. So that’s what I’d do.” 

“Then do it.” he said. 

“Don’t worry about money, my business is doing well. I’ve got this.”

I thought for a few minutes.

“On one condition.” I said.

“Go on.”

“I will take care of everything else. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry. In the downtime I will write.”

“Deal,” he said.

It was a very real manifestation of his love for me. It had been a long time since anyone loved me like that. It was astonishing. I was on cloud nine. I posted on social media platforms I had a very exciting new role. I was now a Househusband/ writer. Those who know and love me know that this is a role I was made for and would excel at. 

It was one of the many things that kept me sane as COVID swept over us leaving so much devastation and ravage as it did. Some survived, many didn’t. Thinking of the ones that didn’t was another one of the things that kept me sane during it. 

Have you heard of the phrase “Pathways To Peace” In a former part of my life I was a Business Intelligence Analyst which always tended to raise eyebrows in the pub and at dinner parties. Most of them probably didn’t know what it was or what it meant but it seems to be one of those job titles that sounds far more impressive than it really is. After a while I stopped telling people the title and told them I was a storyteller telling stories derived from data sources like databases. My story telling ability helped managers to make important decisions that affected many people. This changed the way that people felt about me and one of the benefits was I had so many more interesting conversations from it. 

As a writer I get to write stories and those who have read my writing have told me that they felt something that they didn’t expect. I remember in the period in between lockdowns and we were able to sit outside pubs and be among people again. My partner went out for a couple of drinks and met a couple of women. We had some very interesting discussions over the next few hours and was able to share some of my writing with them when I told them I was a Househusband/ writer. At the time I was writing a lot of flash fiction. One of the women turned to me and her eyes had teared up but she kept them back and said to me “I don’t think you know how good a writer you are.” 

It was shortly after that I had a sort of epiphany about my writing. I realised that I was no longer writing just words. It was taking time to find the word. I believe that this is a peculiar type of madness that afflicts those whom society calls “creative types” Of course never seeing myself as a creative type I never dreamed that one day I would be afflicted. 

One of my heroes and whose work I quote often is the late great Victoria Wood. I remember a documentary I watched where she confessed that she was similarly afflicted, often taking days to find THE word rather than settling for just any word. Realising that a Garibaldi biscuit was far funnier than a McVities Digestive, chocolate covered or not. 

So now I write because I am consumed with the idea that life might deal me a bitter blow that prevents it so I need to celebrate it now.  I write too because I want to pay forward the way that reading has touched me. I write because I have to and I write in the hope that if my writing touches even one other person and provides them with a moment where they are touched so deeply that it makes a difference in their lives however fleeting then it will have made the madness all worth it. 

So if you would like to share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions and any other feedback on my writing I welcome it. 

You can

Read my published short story in the new online magazine Shorts Magazine Shorts Magazine – Exciting Writing! It is in their Summer Edition published August 20 2021

Email: tom@tomgalewriter.com

Website www.tomgalewriter.com

Facebook tomgalewriter

Tweet me : TomGaleWriter

On the website you can sign up to my blogs and if you would like to be part of beta reading team to help me in the editing and rewriting process you can sign up for that and I will share with you excerpts from my work in progress a memoir of how in Edinburgh in the 1970s – 1990s through poverty, abuse, the Mormons, the British Army, Psychiatry and controversial therapies, University, marriage and fatherhood how I came to understand my sexuality and spirituality to help me make the most difficult decision of my life. 

I look forward to sharing it with you and taking on board your feedback. I believe that with your help it will ensure that when I send it to a professional editor that I will have avoided the pitfalls that hold back other writers. Which will make it stand out to publishers. 

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