Here are more of the essays that came out of the in-class writing assignment, “I write because …” These are students who had five minutes to write without thinking, just to let the words flow out, and not to think or to edit. I think they just about sum up the journey of writing.
I write because I want to reveal myself to me. I want to understand why I am who I am and how I came to be.
I write because I think I’m funny, that I have something to offer someone, somewhere.
When Amelie pushes her open hand, splayed fingers into a burlap sack of beans, it speaks to me.
And when David Sedaris as a child sings car dealership radio commercials from the 60s in Billie Holiday’s voice, it speaks to me.
Me, ten years old and wanting nothing more than to meet Dolly Parton.
Me, at eleven, doing a science fair project on the White House, making a cardboard model of it to show to class and never quite feeling like it was good enough, or perfect enough, or that I was smart enough.
Somewhere, there’s a kid who needs to read something and hear my voice speaking directly to him.
I write because I love to see the words come together and tell a story, to create perfect sentences. I write to increase my skill with the English language, to play with the words, to learn new words and resurrect long forgotten ones, to paint a picture that tells my story.
I write to challenge myself, to express myself, to feel like an artist when I have never thought of myself as one.
I write to challenge the young girl who hated art class except when I could copy what the teacher put in front of me, to defy the girl who could never imagine a story to write, who was terrified when the teacher said, “Write about whatever you want!” I write to tell my story, to give something to my children to tell where I came from and where I am going.
I write because I think there is a story to tell that goes beyond my own particular life, I have lived through so many changes in the larger world, as well as in my own personal world, that my story can portray a picture of how things have developed over the past 50 years. When I was young, changes didn’t come along so quickly; things just seemed to amble along until the second World War, But since then, life has become so much more complicated. We are more prosperous, we’ve learned to want many more material goods, sexual norms have changed completely, the role of women has altered dramatically and the world seems to have become a scarier place.
I want to show all this by telling the story of my own life.
I write because it feels good and helps me feel connected to my own self, my own way of seeing and experiencing the world around me.
I write because I want someone to listen to my stories, no razzle dazzle. It’s another way to razzle dazzle others and look like someone.
It makes me more than a stone.
I write because I can, because I am, because I can make something with my words that I can eat myself and that I can feed you. And I can go to sleep on it and feel content, and I can get energized by it and it’s like taking a good crap to get it out there. That’s why I write.
I write because I promised myself I would – for each day this whole year and for the first time I wonder if I’ve created a prison to put myself in – but, oh well, it’s a year of it!
I write because the letters take shape on the page, curving, jumping up to dot and cross, and the page is evermore transformed with my thoughts, and the images we have just put into our minds. We are affected by the writing. It’s an adventure to follow the line.