Many of us have hobbies that we enjoy. Some of us are amateur bakers or candlestick makers. There are others who spend their summer weekends on their knees in the garden tending to roses, acacias, and daisies. There are still those who are musicians and love to spend the evenings jamming with a couple of close friends in a basement or coffee shop down the road. All of us have hobbies from the esoteric and celebral to others which engage us in the creative process.
If I was asked what my main hobby is, I would say writing. I have written and told stories for most of my life. When I received my first word processor back in the fourth grade, I spent most of my time sitting in front of the screen and doing all kinds of writing. I would make up programs for recitals or concerts, short stories, CD reviews, you name it. If I had a keyboard in front of me, I used it to write about whatever was on my mind.
One of the reasons why I love writing so much is because it is a medium in which we can share our deepest thoughts and ideas with others. While there can be something intimidating about a printed text, there is also a certain intimacy that can’t be achieved on the telephone. As I have written elsewhere, writing anonymously on the internet allows us to share our thoughts without recrimination from others because they do not know who we are.
Of course, I don’t just write a blog. This blog is one of many things that I work on throughout the day. Over the course of the last year, for example, I have completed two novels and a screenplay. I don’t think that any of these works will be published at any point in the future, but I see them as exercises that could lead to great achievements later on. All of us have to start somewhere and these little works that I have recently completed are stepping stones to something greater.
I think that one of the main reasons why I write fiction is because I have pronounced need to escape from my own self. While it is certainly nice to reflect and examine one’s life, there is also a need within each of us to escape outside ourselves. As a writer, I can create characters that are very different from me and who are nothing like me. For example, the main character in one of my novels was a busty blonde Wasp from the Upper East Side of Manhattan. This just goes to show you that I, too, need to get out of my own skin sometimes.
Yet there is also something else to writing that attracts me. The act of sitting down in front of a computer screen and creating something out of thin air is one of the greatest joys in my life. I love sitting there and thinking about the characters, settings, and plots of my stories. In my mind, I play with the characters, place them in different situations, and watch them interact. It’s like Second Life in a way except that it’s much less fraught with danger and loneliness. It is a world into which I can escape on my own.
My own writing, however, is also a way to praise God. My stories may not have Catholic overtones, but they do have Catholic themes. Some of them are about the relationships between children and families, how do you help someone in need, and what do you do when the trumpets call. All of these themes are addressed in my writings and you can find many of them in the Bible as well.
Indeed, there have been many great Catholic writers over the centuries that are worthy of admiration. I think of Georges Bernanos’ “Diary of a Country Priest” and Flannery O’Connor’s short stories as excellent examples of Catholic fiction. Books that are imbued with the faith and that can teach moral lessons. Indeed, I hope that my writings meager and humble as they are can add to that canon and enrich the world.