Earlier this week I indulged/amused myself in a comment on The Daring Novelist‘s blog, suggesting that what Yoda meant to say was: Do, or do not, there is no why.
“English my first language it is not.”
I was just having a bit of fun, but the revised phrase has stuck with me, echoing around in my head and making me wonder if maybe I had hit on something.
Maybe there is no why.
For example: Why am I a software developer? I could trace my route through programming and an interest in computers and provide examples of possible why’s.
Because I like programming software I design. Because I like programming, in general. Because I like making a computer do what I tell it. Because I wanted to make video games. Because the pastor’s wife donated her TI99/4A to the church’s small school. Because the Atari came out when I was a kid. Because my parents bought the family a Pong console. Because my Dad was an electronic repairman.
Is any of those the why? Are all of them the why? Or just a part of the why?
I don’t know. To me, being a software developer, a computer programmer, is so deep within me that anything I offer up to explain “why” is slanted by the fact of what I am: a software developer. It’s become a tautology. I am a programmer because I program. I develop software because I am a software developer.
I’m beginning to think maybe I’m a writer for a similar, circular reason: I’m a writer because I write.
Again, I could trace a route through my life, through stories and authors that inspired me, but eventually I hit a point where I wanted to be a writer and I cannot provide a reason why. The earliest story I can remember that inspired me to write was Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH–but the first story I remember writing, I wrote *before* I read that book. It’s possible that what inspired me to write my first story was my parents buying me a small spiral notebook when I was in 3rd grade. Did a set of blank pages in the shape of a book inspire me to write that first story? What kind of a “why” is that?
Maybe there is no why.
Which would kinda negate the whole question of motivation. Being who you are, because that’s who you are, how can you possibly do anything except what you do? And how can you not do what you do? And why would need a reason to do what you do? Just do it, already.