Tuesday, March 29, 2011

why do you write?

I write because if I had to bear these burdens for the rest of my life without processing, they would kill me.

I write to understand what hurts or confuses or frightens me.

I write because I don't listen well; I write because I can't act.

I write because some days I think that writing will get me a better job than the one I have.

I write because the words, the ideas, the thoughts don't come out as well if I try to talk, or to make with my hands.

I write because eventually what comes out of me makes sense. I'm able to look at it and to understand what I'm thinking, where I'm struggling.

I write because while writing I am consistently surprised.

I write because I have been more deeply moved by things I've read than anything else. I still remember being a high school senior, sprawled out on my twin bed, sobbing over Emma Bovary's death, despite the fact that she was a spoiled, confused, selfish brat. I remember feeling of baptism the first time I read Ralph Ellison and felt that someone understood. I remember the emphatic bobbing of my head up and down the first time I read Sylvia Plath. I remember the wonder and silence that sat in my chest like a cast iron pot the first time I read James Baldwin.

I write because I do have a voice, and it is stronger on the page than anywhere else.

I write because I want to try my hand at the tricks that I find so impressive.

I write because I like making nice sentences.

I write because it provides me with just enough illusion that I know what's going on or that I have any control over anything around me.

I write so that I don't have to have children.

I write to lend my voice to the chorus of broken people who are trying--searching--opening and softening and searching.

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