Why I Write

I have a need to express myself creatively.  Mostly that takes the form of building stuff or fixing stuff because, well, I’m a guy.  That doesn’t mean that my only supplies are 2×4’s and tenpenny nails.  Actually, I have a particular fondness for fine woods and like to make things like crosses, decorator boxes, and even furniture.  But just about any material or craft area is fair game if I get an idea.  The problem, though, is that while I may have the heart of an artist I don’t have the hands to match.  That doesn’t keep me from trying but I’m realistic enough to understand and appreciate what real craftsmanship looks like.  I figure that if I pass along my how-to information then maybe someone with artist’s hands will get inspired.  So I write.

I also like to solve problems.  Ok, so they have to be problems I choose to solve.  Otherwise they are just irritants that eat into my time.  A big part of that fun problem solving has taken the form of designing and building little microcontroller projects.  Getting stuff to work is fun but being able to pass along my knowledge to a younger generation really puts a fine finish on it.  So I write.

As you may have guessed, I’m a retired engineer with backgrounds in both electronics and software.  But there’s more because originally I wanted to be a Psychologist.  Wait, what?  Yup, turns out that the other half of my personality and education involves the “soft sciences”.  When I finally got serious about college (after a stint in the military) I actually got multiple degrees in Psychology and Sociology.  And then I promptly landed a job as an electronics test technician.  Thankfully my military experience paid off and kept me from the dreaded “Do you want fries with that?” scenario.

As I moved into different positions in the tech world (writing, instructing) it became more evident to me that I wouldn’t really feel fulfilled unless I was designing stuff.  So I took night classes and got a degree in Computer Science.  Not only did I start having more fun, but I also got much more use out of my Social Science education when dealing with traditional engineers.  Unfortunately, word got out that I was a little bit better than the average engineer at writing and presentations so those tasks began to infringe on my fun time.  I mean, just how creative can you get while writing tech manuals for big companies and the military?

Through it all I did dabble in some creative writing.  I joined a small writing group and even took a Creative Writing class at the local Community College – four times.  I did technical articles for a couple of hobby magazines and wrote unpublished personal essays, short stories, and even poetry.  I thought about a novel but didn’t think I could harness my attention deficit long enough to see it through.  Now that I’m retired I have more time but also a wider variety of interests.  So writing gets set on the back burner unless it’s documenting one of my craft or electronics projects.  But I still have a need to express my thoughts on other topics and doing so by posting comments on Yahoo articles just doesn’t seem to cut it.  So why do I write?  Because sometimes I need to be heard – even if I’m the only one listening.