I write because…

I write because - original photography by Duane Toops

I saw a post earlier this week that asked a simple question: “Why do you write?” It’s strange how the simplest of questions require the subtlest and most nuanced of answers. Like: Is there a God? What is love? Where do babies come from? Do these jeans make me look fat? What’s that smell? Does this taste funny to you?

The answer to the question of why I write is something I know deeply, but can’t explain. I think it’s because as I shift and change, my reasons for writing evolve and expand right as well. It feels constant, but it is never static.

Terry Tempest Williams says that “I write to listen. I write out of silence. I write to soothe the voices shouting inside me, outside me, all around.” Sylvia Plath says that “I write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still”. I write because I know exactly what they both mean.

I am full of clash and clatter. I write to make peace with the clamor.  I reach into the calamitous torrent of noise charging in my chest. I snatch at the restless cycle of swirling voices, and pull words into the small spaces of quiet at my core where the silence can find space to speak.

I sit at my desk and I write because I’m scared, scarred, and lonely. I write because it’s the only way I know of to let that trembling exhaustion have a voice, and, on so many bleak days, I need to find a reason to go on.

I write because I am a mystery even unto myself, and, somewhere within the process of words being scraped out across the page, the ambiguities of who I am are manifest and made clear. I write because when I do, something happens, and usually that “something” feels like home.


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