David Mamet brought home an idea that I had known my entire life but hearing him put it so viscerally made the point crystal clear. A beaver’s teeth itch. The only reason the beaver is such a great engineer, building all those dams, and so creative like no other creature on this planet is simply because its teeth itches.
There is a hunger that drives a person and often that hunger, for fame, for glory, for recognition, can burn a person. But an itch, an intrinsic desire to do a particular task is your salvation. I can imagine the first itchy beaver standing around the lush forest abounding with thick aspen trees. Having lopped off a decent number of trees it thought, what now?
looking around and it felt there was a demand for landscaping. A nice cozy dam was what the North American continent needed and the world was never the same again. The industrious beaver took an uncontrollable desire for a repetitive task and turned it into a skill that continues to astound mankind and possibly animal kind too. I haven’t probed into the mind of a bear and asked what it thought of the dams but I’m guessing fur scratching wonder.
Doing things because you are passionate about it is the key to success and fulfilment. Chasing fame, glory, money etc, is transitory and often fraught with misery. Often when people ask me why I write, I tell them because I’d explode if I didn’t and if people like what I create well that’s just super.
My writing stems out of inspiration, I hear a phrase, a jingle, a thought, and my fingers itch. I see something amazing, astounding and inspiring, my fingers itch. However, if you tell me here is a topic, now write about it. I end up staring at a snowstorm with a great white snow bear trudging along the driven white snow, leaving huge white footprints. Not a black letter in sight.
Inspire me and I can drain the ink from the shadows and pen a poem, a prose or an epic story. I write for the sake of writing, the ability is its own reward. Perhaps that is why I have never felt discouraged when I failed to get my books published or my writing recognized. I still jump out of bed eager to write my story and stay up late finishing it.
The joy I get finishing my manuscript is so thrilling, that only the birth of my children surpass it. The same children I rush to school so that I can retreat to my computer. So find your itch, you’ll be so much happier for it.