Friday, July 25, 2008

Why I write

"I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all." ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

I write because it comes easier to me than speaking. I write in my head all the time. My head is the place where I record everything, where the words come together. I am always writing something inside my head. I write because it's something I feel confident doing, and because when I compare myself to others, as I sometimes do, I don't feel like I come up short, like I don't measure up. I write because I grew up loving the stories that words can tell--how words and stories can take me away from a sometimes ordinary life and allow my soul to soar with adventure. I wanted to be able to do that, too, not so much with stories, but with snippets of my life that let the truth of my life shine through.

When I write, I think a part of me wants other people to tell me that they feel the same way I do, but I'm never mad or disappointed if they don't because life isn't about us being cookie cutter versions of each other and I'm ok with that. I write because it's like breathing to me--so effortless--when most everything else feels hard. I write because it's something I can call my own, it's my thing. I write because there's nothing more challenging to me than a blank page waiting to be filled with the words of my heart.

Writing feels like I am leaving pieces of me everywhere for someone else to find and piece together. It makes me feel brave that I am taking the risk of putting myself out there because mostly I am content to keep things safely inside me where no risk is involved. I write because I've always wished I could paint or draw, and writing is the closest I will ever get to being an artist. I write because I have things to say, and even if they are things that other people have said hundreds of times before, I like to think I'm saying them differently, that I'm making my story my own.

I write because I grew up in a family that didn't talk about feelings, and consequently I had so many things inside me that I knew needed to get out, and writing provided me that outlet. I write because it's like therapy without spending a dime. I write because I want something permanent that will say I was here, that I lived and loved and wrote it all down, and did not care if I sounded foolish or crazy or rotten or ridiculous. I write because it's something I love doing. I want people to read what I write and come back to learn more but if they don't, I think I am pretty much content knowing that I have this place where I can be the me I don't always get to be.

I write because I cannot ever imagine not writing. It's a passion that never alters. It's a gift that can't be measured. I write for the peace it brings me in the moments of my life when I am searching for a soft place to land, and it does not ever fail me.

More than anyone will ever know, writing is my salvation.

Why do you write?

1 comment:

Christy said...

Wow, I feel like you somehow plucked many of those words out of my own head. I write for many of those same reasons--I have an easier time conveying what I want to say in writing; I feel like I'm always telling and retelling everything that occurs in my life as a story in my head; writing is my passion.

Your description is poetic. I love it, and I love how you write. :)