Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why I Write

In honor of the National Day of Writing

Why do I write?

There are LOTS of days I ask myself that question. They are usually the days where I’m staring at a blank page trying to start a new project or a new chapter. Or days where I’m looking at a draft that is a pile of drivel, and I recognize it as a pile of drivel, but I have no earthly idea what to do to de-drivel it.

On those days, I walk around snapping at any soul, young or old, silly enough to cross my path and speak to me. On those days, I really start to question my career choice. Seriously. Who do I think I am anyway? Why would people want to read the pile of goo I’m generating? And how am I supposed to teach writing if I can’t get my own to gel?

But then, when I slog on, reaching out to my writing peeps who remind me that they think I’m smart, who are willing to drop a critical lens on my goo, when I follow Joan Didian’s example and park my behind in the chair and glue it there instead of “going into town or out to the garden” day after day after day, something eventually “breaks loose.”

The ideas coalesce. The words of all of those people whose shoulders I am standing on come together in a way that makes sense, and suddenly I’m riding this massive Pacific style wave all the way to who knows where, adrenalin pumping and hands shaking because they can’t type fast enough.

And that moment, that moment of pure joy at words on paper that make sense of the storm of my thoughts, is why I write.

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