This week’s quote comes from Tobias Wolff, a writer best known for his memoir ‘This Boy’s Life’ and his collections of short stories. As regular readers of my ‘Thoughts’ posts will know, I choose each quote because it somehow resonates with me on a certain level and this is very much true of Wolff’s quote.
All writers write for a reason and it is these factors alone that drive us to commit such time and effort into doing so. One of my own personal reasons is the fact that I had a difficult childhood and this often led me to amuse myself with my imagination through the times when I felt scared and alone in the world. Instead of outgrowing my childish daydreams when I became an adult, I have held onto them and used them to drive my writing.
Speaking from personal experience, I enjoy writing primarily for the fact that it allows me to have some sense of control over the world – even if it is one of my own making. During my life, there have been so many times when I felt as if I had been caught up in a vortex of other people’s issues and emotions and it would often leave me dazed, confused and powerless to stop what was happening around me. It is impossible to control all the variables in life and neither would I want to, but creating a story-world allows me to be the master of my own destiny and control situations that I might not have handled all that well in ‘real life’.
Wolff’s quote reminds me that it’s okay to make mistakes in this life. None of us are perfect and there are many people who would no doubt love to go back in time and change some of the things they said or did. Sadly, life doesn’t work like that, and until some bright spark has invented a time machine, it doesn’t look like a good prospect in the near future either.
Okay, so we may not have time machines, but we have books to write and stories to tell and that gives us the chance to go back and change the things we might have got wrong. We can take those awkward or painful experiences and use them to do better in the future, to perhaps create a story that serves as a lesson to those whose generations come after our own.
As human beings, we all make mistakes – it is in our nature to do so – but we can use those errors as a way to drive a clear message through the narrative of our writing. Through our writing, we can influence and inform the generations of tomorrow and perhaps begin to make right some of our wrongs.