Why do writers write?
There are as many kinds of writers as there are subjects to write about. And every writer has his own purpose for doing so.
Just look through the pages of The Garden Island newspaper and you will see what I mean.
There are writers who primarily report about breaking news of accidents and incidents; writers who chronicle decisions made by councilmembers and commissioners; writers who keep us abreast of pending developments that may have the potential to adversely impact our neighborhoods or our community.
There are writers so knowledgeable about topics they are passionate about, they willingly take the time to share information they know is timely and accurate just to keep the record straight and make sure what gets disseminated is the right way or best way things should be done.
Then there are the writers who entertain; who write fascinating feature stories for the sheer pleasure of their readers about people who care deeply about Kauai; who make a significant difference in the community, or enrich their neighbors’ lives by their unselfish example or actions.
There are also writers with agendas; who feel so strongly about the “causes” they espouse, they often go out on a limb to persuade people to take up their banner or join their campaign, whatever the current one is.
And there are the writers who are compelled by their reaction to some or all of the above to vent their anger, outrage or disappointment; and are driven to express their opinions in letters or viewpoints.
Over the years, I too have had many reasons to use my love of words for the newspaper that was my life for more than three decades.
I have written about the accidents, the floods, the tragedies, and the hurricanes; twice having to leave my beloved family behind in the midst of the aftermath. As they struggled to clean up and repair, I was in Honolulu trying to put out a newspaper so Kauaians could know what was going on and what they needed to do.
For the second time in 1992, we were gone for two weeks and when we finally got the fax that said power was back on at the newspaper and we could go home, tears rolled down my cheeks.
I have also written about the triumphs: such as the elusive, long-sought after KIF football championship that finally became reality for Kapaa after years of trying.
I have written about outstanding fish catches by longtime Kauai fishermen and the pride and camaraderie fishing allowed them to share with family and friends.
And I have also written feature stories such as the one about the 10-year-old computer genius from Kapaa, who wrote a Flight Simulator program that won third place in a prestigious, highly competitive contest. He is now the proud father of two living in Quebec who still keeps in touch occasionally through Facebook and has never forgotten the article I wrote more than 30 years ago.
I have written about the newborn baby girl who for a while was the youngest infant to receive open-heart surgery. She has flourished, largely because of the love of her parents and family and is now a beautiful young woman whose family still lives here.
And I have written two columns, one about a cherished brother-in-law who died that was so personal I had to be persuaded by editor Jean Holmes to allow her to print it to inspire other people.
The second was the hardest thing I have ever written about the unexpected death of my youngest son and what it meant to our family. I still cry every time I read it.
Why do writers write? These are just a few of our reasons.
Artist Pablo Picasso once said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
As it has for many others, writing has always given meaning to my life. I believe that sharing our words with our readers is our way of fulfilling our purpose.
Rita De Silva is a former editor of The Garden Island newspaper and a resident of Kapaa.