I recently found my Advanced Fiction class notebook, from my days as a Center for Talented Youth student circa summer 2000-2001. This is straight from the first page (with “why do we write?” written in giant bubble handwriting at the top, highlighted in yellow):
Some people write because they feel like they have
something despretly important to say, something worth listening to.
Some people use writing as a kind of catharsis, like an exorcism of
their demons, so to speak. That whole idea of getting all your pains
and sorrows down on paper so that way you won’t worry about them
anymore, or at least feel like you’ve accomplished something. Not
only your pains and sorrows but your gripes, opinions, complains,
philosophy, etc… I think of
writing as a kind of reflection of the author, and since the author is
a reflection of the culture & values that she/he is currently living in,
then their writing becomes an important demonstration of those
things as wells. I really kick the fantasy around in my head of
aliens descending upon the earth as it lays in apocalyptic ruins and
finding a battered, burnt copy of The Catcher in the Rye or something.
They’ll be like Huh huh, them humans sure do talk purdy.