People ask me, “Why do you write?” and my inner retort often feels like: “Why do you not?”
I don’t usually reply this aloud, however. I realize that such deflection is far from giving an answer, and that there are probably as many reasons to write as there are not to. Belonging to the former group, I cannot imagine life without words put down on paper and/or screen, even if I know it is not the only way to live. So it stands to reason that there would be those from the latter group who find in quite confounding to imagine why one would want to type letters onto screens for recreation.
Why then, do I write?
Beyond the obvious to me “because I do …”, my answer varies, but it often returns to “because it feels as natural as breathing and just as necessary.” Writing is essential to me. It feels like home. It is the place of flow, even if not always of comfort. Writing takes me places that I never knew I would be visiting, into mind-nooks and crannies I’ve forgotten I had known and some that I never owned and yet somehow remember. Writing deepens how I think, what I comprehend, how I understand it. It plumbs my heart for meaning and compassion, it weaves my thoughts so that they make a tapestry from smallish bits of living. Words offer vistas that lie hidden under the everyday, patiently (and not so patiently) waiting to be breathed onto page and screen.
To me writing is often fun. The best kind of delight, when I am immersed and floating down creative currents. Though some parts of writing can be tedious, they are to me never boring. Words paint pictures within me. They have me revisit. They bring alive people and places. They animate thoughts, realities, events, suspense and resolution. More than anything, writing surprises me. It is as if stories unfold and I am naught but the typist of their unveiling, a tool for their formation.
I write because I can, and because it seems impossible not to.
As Miller said, “writing is, like life, a voyage of discovery” and it is one to which I do not want to say good-bye.
If you, reading this, write: would you share why?