Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 21 - Why Do I Write? (off prompt)

When I do writing practice, I use my writing practice "Bible" Writing Down the Bones, by St. Natalie. I hold the book in both hands, and then just let it fall open. I read the chapter, and do the exercise. This always works. Even if I've done the exercise a dozen times, it works. She manages to spark something new every time.

Today's chapter was "Why do I write?" Given recent setbacks to my (novel) writing, I found this one particularly helpful. Hope you enjoy it!

Why Do I Write?

I write because I am empty
I write because I am filled
I write because I am half in love
With every person I meet,
And I want to get to know them
But I am too afraid to speak.

I write because I want to remember
The rich earth scent and rain at Disney
And us, splashing in little pools
filled with light and brushstrokes of sky.

I write because Gary’s Coffee Shop is gone
Someone should remember
The water-stained ceiling tiles
Rippled like tree rings.
Someone should recall
The mingled scents of burnt coffee
And roach bait.

I write to memorialize
my grandparents’ families.
People should know they lived
And laughed and loved and dreamed;
That they are more than dates
Carved upon graves

I write because at the edge of every happiness
There stalks a creeping anguish
That all of this will pass.
This moment, this earth.
I hurt knowing that the combination
of all my daughter’s delicate intricacy
exists only now
One day, it will pass,
and I will pass,
and who will memorialize us?

I write because there are characters
Who reside within me,
people I know more intimately
Than my own family.
Flawed and funny,
I love them so much,
And I want you to meet them.

I write because writing never leaves,
always understands,
is patient,
is unforgiving,
is a continual challenge,
an endless celebration.

Writing is a scream in the face
of constant inconstancy.
I ache that all things lack permanence.
Even this is not enough.
How many written records met with fire,
with rain, with the steady scour of dust?
Even still, I write.

I write because otherwise I am blind,
and writing is a mirror
where I can truly see myself.

I write because if I did not,
I would not be me.

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