Why I Write (and Why I Don’t)

Having finished my revisit with The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer, I have now picked up Writing Creative Nonfiction edited by Carolyn Forche and Philip Gerald.  It is a composite of essays of over thirty creative nonfiction writers.  The first time I picked it up, I started working through the exercises that accompanied the essays.  Unfortunately, I only made it through the first few.  I am now considering starting again and see if I might get farther.

As I toy with this task of writing, I seek permission to indulge and divulge.  As I flirt with the thought of creating, I request the freedom to wander and explore.   As I chase down this dream, this idea, this thought, I humbly acknowledge the license and latitude I take.  Therefore, I submit the following:

Nine years ago I answered the question “Why I write.”

“I write as one who walks on the surface of a frozen river beginning to melt.”
Terry Tempest Williams

I write out of fear that if I do not, I will cease to exist.
I write in hopes that somehow in someway, I might have something important to share.
I write in hopes that I might be someone important.  Isn’t that what we all long for, to be important to someone.  To know that their world is made just a little bit (or maybe a lot) better because of us.
I write to bring into submission all the joy, all the frustration, all the passion, all the anger, all the longing, all that threatens to consume me, so I will not be consumed.
I write to exist.
I write to feel.
I write to allow my very being to take form and live.
I write because it is as necessary to my soul as breathing is to my body.
I write to capture the world in words as a child captures fireflies in a jar.
I write to soar on the wings of eagles to heights only dreamed of, to touch the stars, to see beyond the rainbow, to dance across the ocean waters, to touch distant shores.
I write to see what cannot be seen.
I write to reveal what is hidden.
I write from the ache in my heart.
I write from the depths of joy in my soul.
I write from darkness not unlike deep shadowy pools in shaded forest glades.
I write from a soul awash with pure joy as a cool waterfall in the warm summer sun.
I write from a passion that burns like a forest fire consuming all that each flame touches.
I write to hope.  I write to dream.  I write to remember.  I write to live.
I write to articulate my thoughts in hopes to untangle the confusion within.
I write in hopes of discovering who I am.
I write in hopes of discovering who others are.
I write because I am enamored with the romance of words, wooed into the seductive way they arouse passion, beguiled and obsessed with the excitement and delight they bring.  Words tease the reader, play with the heart, whisper promises, entice like a lover.
I write as if crying out to be understood.
I write to understand.
I write because when I write, I am me.
I write because when I write I am whoever I desire to be.

Today, I again answer the question “Why I write.”

“I write out of fear that if I do not, I will cease to exist.”
Jill Johnston

Why do I write today?
Why do I want to write?
Why don’t I write?

I write because the sun shines and the breeze blows.
I write because the mountains are covered with snow and it makes the world silent.
I write because there are waterfalls and the world is filled with their roar.
I write because there is birth and children, families and love.
I write because there is music and art and dance and poetry.

I want to write for the sun and breeze.
I want to write for the mountains and snow.
I want to write for the waterfalls.
I want to write for the children and families and love.
I want to write for the music, art, dance and poetry.

I don’t write because the darkness blinds and the storms destroy.
I don’t write because there are cities and they make the world loud.
I don’t write because there are deserts and droughts and the world is filled with thirst.
I don’t write because there is death and graves, loneliness and hatred.
I don’t write because there is war and poverty and crime and oppression.

I write because life is joy, sorrow, and everything in between.
I want to write because others need to know.
I don’t write because they may not listen.

I write because we can hope and dream, love and serve, seek and find.
I want to write so others will hope and dream, love and serve, seek and find.
I don’t write because maybe they won’t.

I write because I started.
I want to write so I can finish.
I don’t write out of terror that I will not.

I write because I hope God has really gifted me.
I want to write because I don’t want to waste His gift.
I don’t write because maybe God didn’t.

I write to see what God will teach me.
I want to write because I grow in the process.
I don’t write because I am not listening.

I write because I feel as if I have something to say.
I want to write because others may have something to say.
I don’t write because I may not say it very well.

I write because I hope the story will show up.
I want to write because I believe there is a story.
I don’t write because there is no story.

I write because there are words.
I want to write to give the words life.
I don’t write because there are no words.

I write because writing is me and I am writing.
I want to write because I want to discover who I am.
I don’t write because I fear who I might be.

I write because others don’t.
I want to write because others can’t.
I don’t write because others do.

I write because I want to.
I want to write because I can.
I don’t write because I can’t.

Advertisements

About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: tabletsofhumanhearts.wordpress.com I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, with one son-in-love. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in Schertz, located at the crossroads of Texas, just northeast of San Antonio.
This entry was posted in Artistic Living and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s