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Why I Write

WHY I WRITE

I have been a writer for as long as I can remember.

My love of stories came long before my love of words. I wrote my first story when I was six years old. It was about a boy and an otter who become best friends in a matter of seconds. Naturally, I thought it was a masterpiece, and quickly set about adding to my collection, stapling and illustrating my scribbled pages with manic enthusiasm. In the beginning, writing was an exercise of pure creativity, invention, and escape. For most of my childhood, I occupied a world of unfettered imagination. My mom would to read to me and my older brother every day, and we grew up cocooned by books, adventure, and possibility. I fell in love with telling stories and told them every way I knew how, with LEGOs, with knock-knock jokes, and eventually, with written words. 

As I grew older, writing took on a greater significance. I was always a quiet child, more likely to lurk in the corner of the classroom than the front of the room, to sit in the back of the car and listen in rapt silence as my brother peppered my mom with questions about how the world worked. I listened, I watched, and I wondered, choosing more often than not, to keep my thoughts to myself than to express them out loud. The world was made of puzzles that did not have simple answers. I wanted to unravel them and to acquaint myself deeply and intimately with the things that I did not understand before I could give my thoughts a voice. I wanted to capture all the complexity of everything I heard and saw and imagined, but could never quite do it justice through spoken words. I needed the careful study of things that came from putting ink to paper, where the words that had for so long evaded me began to flow. Slowly, I learned that through writing, I could capture at least an echo of the world that I carried in my head.

When I wrote, the world made sense, so I never stopped.

The marriage of language and story is an incredibly powerful tool. The role of narratives has always fascinated me. There is both beauty and danger in stories, the tug-of-war between truth and falsehood that can both distort our perspective or make it more honest. Stories show the very best and the very worst of who we are, our triumphs and failures, our greatest loves and deepest despairs.

Stories communicate the very essence of what makes us human, as a mirror to our past and window to our future. In doing so, stories provoke more questions than they do answers. And those questions are the mysteries that demand exploration.