How do salmon know to head upstream to spawn before they die? What innate sense compels them to know they must do something before it is too late, and before the chance is to be lost forever? It is the same innate sense which pushes writers to write. We fear our impermanence, and we write to live beyond the confines of the brackets of birth and death. We write to shout into the silent yawn of eternity.
The results of the effort are ambiguous at best. Very few writers offer works which endure generations, much less scores of generations. And, unfortunately, the work of even the greats will be lost to our extinction. So why do it?
Perhaps the point is not in the result, but in the act of writing itself. Futile though it may ultimately be, as we put words to page we suspend what we know, and rise on the strength of what we hope to achieve – the immortality of our ideas. Could it be, then, that the effort, and not the result, is the aim of the well written life?