On Writing and Identity
A manifesto and a writing exercise
When we find ourselves in a place where we are in the process of changing who we are as a person, we should write.
We should do this not just because it’s a deeply healing thing to do - although it absolutely is. Fiction is how we understand the world and our place in it, and just as young children act out the challenges of their days with soft toys before bedtime, we turn to narratives to process the things that are happening to us, through tv or anecdotes told to friends or even though playing dungeons and dragons. We all need stories and we all need play and there can be a deep solace in writing around the subjects that are preoccupying us. But not just that.
Mainly, we should write at these times of identity shift because it will be good. There is no better time to write great big fiction about great big things than when we are slightly uncertain in our selves. When we are changing something about who we are, that is a moment we have a unique window into the human condition. I we don’t know who we are as a person, this begs the question - what even is a person? And this is the heart of what we are trying to ask when we write.