Today’s piece is written by Thania St. John, Co-Editor of WHY WE WRITE and Executive Producer of “Eureka.” Thania is returning for her 20th season of hour-long drama, pending today’s vote.
Thank you. For reading. For writing. For inspiring. For supporting. Why We Write became what we hoped it would because of all of you. Selfishly, it helped me through a very confusing time. It gave my day structure and purpose. It gave me a reason to talk to Charlie every day and map out a plan and argue over who’s right (okay, grammar is not my forte) and make each other laugh, just like we do in the writer’s room. And every time I’d read a new essay by someone who took the time to share their very personal thoughts, I became awed by the emotion and the spirit and the fortitude of people who were previously just a name on the screen to me.
You got the pleasure of reading their essays, I got the pleasure of reading their e-mails. Each writer who contributed to this project did so with such excitement, such enthusiasm. Sure, there were the usual insecure caveats that most of us express before we put ourselves out there for the world to read. But there was also a sense of joy, of relief, of genuine thanks for providing an unusual outlet for their words. And from the very start, I knew we had tapped into something special.
Writers usually have the luxury of hiding behind characters to express their inner thoughts and feelings. But here, there was no such safety net. These essays expressed some deeply private moments, not only about writing but about life. And experience. I have so much more respect for every writer’s personal journey toward their goal after reading some of these stories. Solitude, puppets, suicidal thoughts – laughter, gym class, getting laid. We’ve all been through something to get here. I applaud every writer who shared themselves with others on this site. And every reader who encouraged them with their comments.
I’ve learned a lot during these past three and a half months, about my Guild, my colleagues and myself. When I first started in this business, I used to say I wrote because it was the easiest way to get “above the line.” Then it was because it was lucrative. After I had kids, it was doable way to be in show business without having to keep set hours (joke was on me, writing is 24/7.) And as I moved up the ladder, it became the best way to keep “control” of my work (joke on me, again.) But after these few months of taking stock and really thinking about what I do and what it means, to me and to others, I’ve realized something important. And something that will give my life and work a new sense of purpose from now on.
I write because I have something to say.
Sometimes it’s something funny, sometimes it’s something sad. Sometimes it’s something serious and sometimes it’s something not very good. But it always starts with a point of view. An observation on life, on people, on how we treat each other. In the writer’s room I call it the theme. What are we trying to say with this story? Once we figure that out, we can put our characters in interesting places, give them guns and fast cars and nuclear devices, make them kiss and kill, give them funny catch phrases and watch them struggle through the labyrinth we’ve created for them. But if there wasn’t a reason to tell the story to begin with, all the fancy eye candy in the world isn’t going to make someone feel something when it’s over.
I have something to say. So does every other writer, whether they realize it yet or not. It actually feels good to admit it. And if walking around in circles, trying to get powerful people in towers to listen to us allowed me that epiphany, then it was all worthwhile.
WHY WE WRITE is a series of essays by prominent – and not so prominent – TV and Film writers. Conceived by Charlie Craig and Thania St. John, the campaign hopes to inspire and inform all writers during the strike, and perhaps beyond. If you’d like to comment, or tell us why you write, visit the Why We Write WordPress site or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.