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I write because …

No more complaints about winter – well, hardly any. I’m into it now. It’s here, now deal, as my daughter says. It just take some getting used to, the coats, the cold, the shovelling and colourlessness. It’s not fun. But neither is listening to someone complain endlessly about something we can’t do a thing about. So enough, or, as the Jews say so much more vividly, dayenu.

Anyway, today was mild and sunny. Well, mild … zero celsius. Practically bathing-suit weather.
Doubletake, my local second-hand store, had a nice old swivel armchair the other day, so I bought it – for one of my kids, I thought, but then I found a perfect place for it in the kitchen, next to the divan by the back window. After more than 23 years in this long narrow kitchen, I finally have what I’ve always wanted – a place for 2 or 3 people to sit comfortably, with a small table in front for drinks and snacks, and the bright vista of the garden stretched out in front. At last, I rejoiced.
The problem is that the crabby cat immediately claimed the new chair as her exclusive resting spot. Today, when my friend and writing client Louise actually sat down in it, Mewmew was outraged. She prowled around, sat in front tail twitching, staring furiously; she kept climbing onto the arms and eventually curled up precariously on the back, behind Louise’s neck. Warning: if you come to sit in my new old chair, be prepared to battle a small piece of fur with very sharp claws and a capitalist sense of private property.
Last night, a date with a much younger man, very tall, very handsome, extremely nice, who happens to carry a great deal of my genetic material. I made a rich beef stew to fill his skinny form; after dinner, while I got ready to go out, he did all the dishes, thereby winning my heart if he had not done so already. I had suggested An Education, but instead, at his request, we went to see Invictus, a perfect mother/son date movie, soul-stirring with absolutely nothing to embarrass either of us. Clint Eastwood did a great job telling a vital story, and Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon were impressive. You cannot tell the story of Nelson Mandela’s heroic forgiveness, show his wise, kind soul at work, often enough.
Tonight, my home class, ten hard-working writers in my living-room, luckily far away from the back window and so no one had to battle the cat. We got caught up and read and critiqued, and at the end, we all did a five minute in-class writing exercise. The task is to write flat out for five minutes without stopping, and then to read, if you choose to, with no editing. I asked them to start with the words, “I write because …” They all wrote and read profoundly moving pieces, very different and yet fundamentally the same, about what writing means to them. Here’s what came of my five minutes:
I write because I need to breathe. Writing is breathing. My mind churns and bubbles and whatever it comes up with flows out, down my arm if it’s a pen or my arms if I’m using a computer, into words.

I type all the time. My children know that my fingers twitch constantly, making words. Words are breath. They are how I make sense, make pictures, make friends. Everything I am is transmitted into words, transformed into words on a page.

I write because I am a human being with a heart that loves and a mind that wants to understand. And to me, the only two ways to understand are to talk and to write. But especially to write. Writing. The word is engraved in my soul and has been since I was six years old, when I learned how to join the letters together, to fit them together to make words that flowed along a line.

May they never end, may that joy never end, until I do.



3 Responses to “I write because …”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I write because I don't know who I am until I put the words out on paper.

  2. beth says:

    Nice. Thanks, Chuck.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm trying anonymous too.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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