I am not often asked why I write.
Unless you count the times I ask myself, “Why in the world am I doing this?” That happens frequently. The question is generally rhetorical, but I do know the answers…
I suppose my first answer is that I write because (as many of us who do this will say) it’s cheaper than therapy. The blank page is a place to let out what we hold inside, to work out what do not understand, to help us make decisions. The blank page is a willing listener who does not judge and, by its silence, lets us find our own way.
I write because I want to think and to feel. Maybe my words will help someone else think or feel something, too. Something about themselves or about the world. Something about how people live and love and treat one another and all the ways they do not, but should. Something about joy and pain, success and failure, death and life. Maybe something about a boy or a girl or a dog or a flower. Maybe something much greater – or simpler – than any of these.
I write because I want to remember; and sometimes I write to forget.
Sometimes I write what I know I need to read.
Mostly, I write because words are the way I understand the world. Some people understand the world through pictures, or music, or sound. For me, it is words that help me make sense of the noise and the chaos.
I write because I am a writer. Writers write. But I am unlikely to tell you I write because I have to or I write because I don’t seem to be able not to write. Those statements aren’t entirely true. Some days I do not write. Maybe on those days I do not write because I have other things that need my attention. Maybe my words are not ready. Or maybe I just don’t feel I have anything to say.
But that’s not entirely true, either. Because even on the days I do not sit at my keyboard or put physical pen to paper, still, I write. In my head, in the background of whatever else is going on, words swirl and collide and drift apart again until they become something. Some of those words and ideas make it to a readable format; some do not. Some will be read by other eyes than mine; many will never see the light of day. But they are always there, always becoming – perhaps a story, a poem, or simply a solitary word or phrase to be of use at some other time.
Maybe the truth is that life is a story. And every moment of it that we live and breathe and do whatever it is that we do, we write that story. We write it for all the reasons here and so many, many more. We write to leave something for those who come behind so that they might know about us and how we lived and loved, how we thought and felt about all the things there are to think and feel about in the world. We write as proof of life, in all its many inceptions.
I write to prove that I have lived.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, hosted by Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee and Kenya Johnson of Sporadically Yours. This week’s sentence is “Why I write…”
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