And so it began, that voice that nudges me to pick up pen and paper and write. It became relentless—that voice that demands time and space. And so I began.
I write because—because—?
“Why? Why do you write?” The voice would not let go!
I don’t know. I write because—because I have to!
I write because I have to!
I write because I want to understand life, my life and yours.
I write because I need to know my purpose and how dreams take wing and fly.
I write because I want to know where I came from and where I’m going.
I write because I want to know what lies beneath and what lies around and through and above. And is there a heaven? Filled with light?
I write because I feel the grass under my bare feet and, well, why is it soft and green? And why does the tree grow tall and straight?
I write because the bird’s song astonishes me. And I want to know how does a bird know how to choose a mate? And how to build a nest? And when is it time to fly away? And how does it know where the cat lurks?
I write because I want to know where God is and what God is. God is everywhere, in everything—or so they say, and how is that possible?
I write because I want to hear the voice of Spirit. Because I want to know its touch. Because Spirit must be one with poems and prayers and blessings. Oh yes! And in kind words spoken gently.
I write because I want to make sense of confusion, of madness. The world does seem maddening, chaotic some days—when simplicity would be so easy. Or not.
I write because words can be so quiet, and life can be so loud. And why are people afraid to touch or be touched? Why is everyone running so fast?
I write because I want to know why fear is so easy, and love can be so hard, since that’s what we want the most—love.
I write because I want to know how we ask for what we need. Why that scares us so! Knowing that you might say, “No!” because you may not understand my need.
I write because I want to know why it is so difficult to lay down judgment and criticism and just breathe for a minute or two—together.
I write because I want to untangle the knots of unknowing, of misguidance, and reweave the yarns into a tapestry of hope.
I write because I want to know, because I need to know. Don’t you? Because I have so many questions and, regrettably, so few answers. And because life is so damned short and what does it all mean anyway?
I write because I need to know that it is okay to be afraid sometimes, to not know the answer, let alone the right question.
I write because I want to meet my hunger, my thirst for life and love, for joy and beauty, and to begin to satisfy them.
I write because I believe—because I believe, that somewhere out there God is listening—that someone, somewhere feels my words, my longing—to be.
I write. I write because I have to! Because it is like breathing air. And so, I write.
Kathi Straubing, the guest author for this post, has been a participant in my “Joy of Writing” class here on Sanibel these past six weeks. Kathi read this piece during our final class, and I asked her if she would be willing to share it on this blog. Thanks, Kathi.
Writing Idea: Using Kathi’s writing for inspiration, how would you answer the question: “Why do I write?” Or take one line from her writing and use it as a prompt for a ten-minute free writing to explore a story from your own life. For example, write about a time you tried to “untangle the knots of unknowing” or why “fear is so easy and love can be so hard.” These big, universal questions are often the ones that hover around and above our writing and bring us to the page.
“Why do I write? It’s not that I want people to think I am smart, or even that I am a good writer. I write because I want to end my loneliness.” Jonathan Safran Foer
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” Flannery O’Connor