Why I Write, Part One Billionty And Four

Amongst other crap, I write.

Well, I try to write, anyway. There are days I sit in front of the computer and the only tapping to be heard is the sound of my pen against the desk. Hours will pass - four, five, six - where I will just stare at the screen and wonder why the hell I do what I do. Blogging, writing about my silly life, writing these articles about how to do whatever... Who the hell pays any attention anyway?

I don't want this to sound like some self-pitying thing. I know I get comments on some things I write, and I know people buy my books, and I know that there are subscribers to my blog and blahblahblah... But behind every writer is a motivation. And whereas my motivation began as "I want to be world famous," I quickly realized that was never going to happen.

So I moved to "I'd like for someone to read something I write and realize they're not alone with the way they think or how they feel or what they're going through in their lives." I wanted people to find a way to find the humor in their lives and the crazy, sometimes difficult stuff they face the same way I try to. And sometimes, you just don't know if you're landing any of the blows you're trying to throw or if you're making any sort of impact whatsoever.

Today, I got an email from Nunka that really, really impacted me:

Subject: Romance.Net

Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2009 12:17:51 -0600

From: nunkaa (address withheld)

To: joe@mentallyincontinent.com

I'm absolutely forcing myself to keep this short, because I know that, like you, I tend to ramble an unholy amount.

So. After my twelve years or so as a resident of the interwebs, I have only just now stumbled upon your site, and your Romance.Net epic in particular. This could not have happened at a more appropriate time in my life. I am normally one to dismiss a series of coincidences as just that---a series of coincidences---but the extent to which a good chunk of that story mirrors my life is almost absurd. I am currently 21 years old, and I find myself in an eerily similar situation. I don't doubt that a lot of guys could say, and have said, the same thing... but as I'm sure you know, things like this really only hit home when you yourself experience them. I don't believe in much, but I do believe in fate, to an extent... and, as silly as this might sound to you, I think I was meant to discover your writing at this exact moment in my life.

What I'm trying to say is that your story has given me the perspective I think I need to get over myself. And her. So... thank you, Joe. You have a great talent for writing. I'll be buying your second book when it comes out. I don't think that's really adequate repayment for your unwitting help, but life's weird like that.

Bye now.

What's really funny, and long-time readers who were around when I first wrote that story in 2004 can confirm: When I was writing that story, I was completely convinced I was going to run off my entire readership with its length and subject matter. And to this day, it's one of the five stories I get the most email about. But almost all of it (like almost all my other email about stories) are opinions on how it's written or questions about what happened next. So it's very very special to hear from someone who found something to bond to in it. Because after all... That's why I write. Well, that and world fame. And since THAT will only come after I find a way to send Jupiter hurtling into the sun... Well, I'll take this every time.

Thank you very much for this, Nunka.