I haven’t been writing much this summer. Or, I haven’t been writing much that’s good this summer, I guess. But I have been reading, as much as my full-time nannying job will allow, and during a recent trip to the library, I picked up a book called Writing Creative Nonfiction, a collection of essays and thoughts by various writers and teachers about the genre I have come to call home. The very first essay in the book, “Why I Write” by Terry Tempest Williams, struck me, and so I wrote my own response. I’m not sure this is even worth posting in blog form, but I found it immensely helpful to sit down and consider the topic: Why do I write? Why have I chosen this as my new educational and career path? What makes this artistic discipline so valuable in my life? So here we go. This is why I write.
I write to unwind. I write to heal. I write to understand. I write to connect the two halves of my brain that so often seem separate. I write because I believe in the power of the written word. I write to learn more about the world around me. I write to make peace with the past. I write to be funny. I write to be serious. I write to stretch myself.
I write because it’s addicting. I write when I’m reading a book and the words on the page jump right off of it, beckoning me to craft my own story. I write to remember. I write to find my boundaries. I write and it’s usually not good enough. I write because it’s the closest thing to bottling a moment I want to save forever. I write because it is a constant in a life full of unknowns. I write to get the bad taste out of my mouth. I write to try and capture the vivid colors of each season. I write because I can’t sleep. I write because I don’t want to sleep. I write to empty my mind. I write in my bed, with my pillows squished up around my body, keeping me upright. I write at the coffee shop, amidst other writers. I write to understand the “human experience.” I write all the things I can’t say out loud. I write because it’s the only thing that gives me the feeling of complete control.
I write when I’m craving chocolate. I write while the warm, crackly vinyl on my turntable sings to me. I write when everything else seems hopeless. I write to unplug. I write to pretend I’m somebody else. I write to take risks. I write to be safe. I write when I feel like crying. I write when I am crying. I write when I’ve had too much coffee. I write when my wifi isn’t working. I write instead of washing my hair. I write to feel the keyboard keys clack beneath my fingers. I write things that don’t make sense. I write when the thought of watching one more episode of Lost on Netflix makes my brain melt. I write to be worthy of my mysterious, dark purple lipstick.
I write to revise. I write hoping there is at least one person out there who will understand my muddled, chaotic thoughts. I write for comfort. I write when I’m waiting for my toenail polish to dry. I write and watch the words meld together on the page into something magical. I write and it’s never truly finished. I write even when I don’t want to. I write because I know the beauty that lies in a powerful story. I write because I’m good at it. I write even when I don’t believe I’m good at it. I write for me.
I write…and that’s all that matters.