Portrait of a Writer

I began writing in my most vulnerable years. I was dumb and arrogant, as most teenagers seem to be, and I did my best to pour greatness into every sentence I wrote. But I was also lying to myself, writing about what I didn’t know, pretending to know, and I got caught and people could see that I wasn’t willing to let them in – I was building this wall to protect my true self from anyone who would be searching for it behind my words. There was nothing that belonged to me in the stories I wrote.

There’s this poem by a Romanian poet, Mihai Eminescu. It’s called To My Critics, and the last verses go like this:

It is easy to write verses

Out of nothing but the word.

It took me six, seven years to figure out that you have to be willing to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. You can call it fiction, make it wear a camouflage, you can embellish, add or remove to your heart’s desire, but you know what’s true and what’s not. And deep down inside, on a mere subconscious level, the readers know it as well.

Whether you write literary fiction or thrillers, whether you write fantasy, science fiction, horror, what appeals most to us is the human character. And there’s no other person in the world you know better than yourself.

All we are doing are self-portraits. As simple that. We accumulate knowledge and wisdom and power, and we get our hearts broken, and we write. We write for others to absorb what took us so long to understand.

Maybe this is the big difference, the so-called rift between commercial and literary fiction. There are writers and there are storytellers.

Storytellers weave beautiful, intricate stories. They carefully build settings, masterfully sculpt characters. Their stories make use of the reader’s imagination – they make him dream. And then there’s the other category, the ones who make us feel.

Ever read a paragraph of wonderful prose? Just words that seem to melt together to form a hint of perfection? An almost divine symphony that leaves you wanting for more? One word after another slowly unveiling the pale grandeur of the human mind. That can’t be made into a movie. It’s not a visual experience, it’s not a tangible universe that’s being described.

There are those who are willing to shut out the world and rummage through their minds for memories they wish they had forgotten. The good and the bad, the tragedies, the pain, the bitter melancholy that engulfs all moments of happiness. By being alone, even in the most crowded of places, an artist is capable of understanding the world around him. All that he has gained, all that he has observed, lies behind a wall. He can jump over it and find the much-needed inspiration to create art, or he can choose to write words.

15 thoughts on “Portrait of a Writer

  1. Most people who write try to sound smarter than they are as well. Using words that they normally don’t use to appear knowledgeable. But little do they realize people respect you more for honesty and lack of know at the moment if you’re getting better, other than truing to be something you’re not. Because showing yourself getting better at conveying a message shows progress.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I loved the honesty of your writing in this post- every word is too true and pure.
    No matter how hard an author tries, he/she is eventually always writing a self-portrait, camouflaged or embellished. Such powerful words.
    Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t have words to describe how well I can relate to this! I always thought I am doing something wrong by not concentrating on improvement of my writing deliberately!! But I think now I am little liberated to know that writing is much more than that!!


  4. Great post, Cristian!

    I use writing as a thinking exercise. It helps me see how clear are my thoughts. Also, journaling serves me as a form of self-analysis. For example, writing about what’s making me anxious, stressed, or sad at the time and asking my self why along the way. Doing this helps me find the root of the problem most of the time. At best, it helps me as a form to release the emotions.

    Have a good one,



  5. Reading this feels like someone just poured out what was in my heart but just my eyes needed to confirm. The best you can write is about you. What you’ve felt. What you’ve lost and what you’ve gained. Emotions flow the best when there’s been a path earlier. Absolutely hatsoff.

    Liked by 1 person

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