The Inalienable Right to Write
Whenever I get into my car, I am flooded with thoughts I need to write about. Driving activates my writing gene, but then I feel cheated because I must continue driving; I cannot stop at the side of the freeway for the sole purpose of writing. I imagine myself pulling over, flipping open my laptop (the one I’d keep in the car at all times), tapping away swiftly for five minutes, locking it up and continuing my drive.
Writing is a right, not a privilege. It’s a necessary adjunct to sanity, therefore ought to be a right similar to the right of all Americans to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. I wouldn’t mind applying for a license, or getting a prescription, or seeking any social sanction that would bestow upon me the right to pull over and tap away at the keyboard, thereby making myself late for work or appointments, which would be excused by legal obligation.
The urge does not limit itself to striking while I sit behind the steering wheel. Sometimes, during the workday, I am overcome with epiphany. I actually need to stop everything, grab my writing utensils, either the keyboard or a pen (whichever is within reach), scribble my revelations, and get back to work before anyone knows I’ve left.
“She’s a licensed writer,” they could say of me, when the inevitable lapses became inevitably noticed. “Oh!” would be the indulgent response, and the inconvenience would be overlooked.
No one would dare ask what I was writing. Their indifference would free me to write passionately, with impunity, and no one would wish to disturb my flood of creative thought, lest some nugget of journalistic wisdom be lost forever to the vagaries of the flitting human mind.
Other writers would recognize me. In fact, we would eventually form a special interest group, and we would lobby for designated curbside sanctuaries, much like the truck stops or waysides along American highways. These areas, off to the side, but not hidden, would be named “Writer’s Rest Stop” or “Writer’s Retreat.” They would exist side by side with other kinds of rest stops.
Offices would have to add just one small extra room, or at least designate a special corner, and call it “Writer’s Corner”, or some such plain but informative name. Here, a computer and a desk with paper and pens would always be available for the unpredictable yet unavoidable movements of inspiration that would propel the writer to sit there for a few moments, maximum fifteen (like for coffee breaks) several times throughout the day. These times would occur at the discretion of the writer (unlike coffee breaks).
Writing, like lunch hours, bathroom breaks and coffee breaks, should be regarded as in inalienable right. I’d vote for legislation protecting my right to write, and I’d lobby for it.
Would writing still be so special, though, after becoming licensed and guaranteed? Would it still provide the spontaneous and energizing insights that come with having to steal a few private moments at the ends of the day, or when no one is looking? Would I till be so passionately attached to it, and try so hard to increase it, improve it, preserve it and protect it? Some of you may say no, but put my name down in writing. I vote “YES”!