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I have lived most of my adult life in the Pacific region, though I was a student in both the USA and Europe. At this stage, I have no hesitation in saying that I regard myself primarily as a writer (and therefore as a particular variety of artist), not because I have an affinity for the lifestyle (which I don't live), but because of the desperation that has fluxed and flowed through my mind through the years as I tried not to set down my thoughts into words.
Writers aren't usually performers. Nonetheless, as they negotiate the inevitable crises of life, they feel compelled to engage in the desperate act of unveiling for public consumption the latest layer of truth that they have uncovered. But that moment of elation that comes with a sudden enunciation is brief, and the Tantric revelatory power of extreme circumstances is, in the end, drawn into doubt. Soon enough, like a souvenir doll purchased at an airport at one of the frontiers of the world, another figurine emerges from within, speaking a horrific variety of Russian; and this tiny, babbling artifact is more miniscule and yet more lustrous and finely detailed than any of its larger, more grossly corpulent sisters.
One sees best in the very act of the unveiling, and then it becomes a challenge--as you talk to your (imagined) audience while the tiny doll laughs at you, making cunning little jibes in Russian--to organize one's remarks in a form that approaches intelligibility.
Well, that is the mania and audacity of committing thoughts to paper (or, as is now more typical, a digital surface).
The most significant biographical fact about me that I am able to recall is that while a student at college I would often study in empty classrooms late at night. The next morning, the professor walking into that room to begin his class would be faced with the noisome task of erasing the ravings that I had chalked on his board.
It was my alternative to Twitter.
And this, perhaps, is why the lives of writers tend towards the picaresque. You embed your discoveries, your enthusiasm and the occasional tear in the squeaking chalk, and then your words are erased with the dawn. Most of what one “writes” is written in thoughts never committed to paper (or digital display). It is a life spent whispering ceaselessly to no one in particular.