Why I Write


I still can remember the very first poem I wrote. I was 9 years old and while waiting for the bus to school I heard a crow. I looked up and sitting regally at the very top of a huge pine tree nearby was a stark black crow. Something about the beauty of it inspired me to write so I whipped out a composition notebook and jotted out a basic poem.
Over the years I have always been a writer. Poetry, essays, short stories, journals,even a couple books. I discovered that writing really was a fantastic form of therapy. I have filled countless composition books in my life. Stacks of them are stored away in boxes in my shed, more are stashed in my office.
I have one for each of my boys. I begin writing the day I discover I am pregnant, writing letters to my unborn child and continue writing to them as they grow. I tell them my dreams and hopes for their future. I try to instill a little wisdom. I chronicle memories of their development and birthdays and holidays. A few of those love letter journals were begun for children I never birthed. They ended up developing into books filled with pages written by a mother in grief, and eventually coming to a place of acceptance and peace as I write letters to angel babies I never got to hold. My first miscarriage was the hardest, because I was halfway through my pregnancy when I lost it. I spent years writing letters to that baby. It helped to write my feelings down, how I was angry at God, how I ached to hold that child at times, how I was so very aware of missing a child when Christmas rolled around. I filed an entire journal up with those letters and it is incredible to read back and see the gradual progression from grief to healing.
When I was a teen and my mom and I would but heads (as all teen girls and moms do) I would pen angry letters to her. And then rip them up. When I fell hard for the popular boy in school and he wouldn’t even look my way, I wrote him romantic sonnets. And then ripped them up. I wrote poetry for competitions and won awards. My first paid poem was for a gentleman in my church who paid me $20 to write a poem inside a card for his mother for Mothers Day. I was 14. My first story I ever wrote was a fictionalized story about a war vet from the Gulf War. It was 15 pages long. I was 11. I gave it away to a lady who worked at the daycare where my baby brother went. Simply because she liked it. When I was 13 a teacher watched as I penned a poem out, two full pages, in under 5 minutes. She told another teacher about it who in turn went out on his teachers salary and bought me a gorgeous journal. The next day he called me into the office he shared with a couple other teachers and gave me the journal and told me to keep on writing because I had a gift. When I was 11 a teacher gave me a bound copy of Maya Angelous inauguration poem with a note inside to keep writing. When I was 12 a teacher would ask me nearly everyday if I had written a novel yet. Writing was simply always a pat of every bit of my life.
When my first husband left me I penned pages and pages of hurt and angry letters that I never did anything with. Eventually I moved on with my life and threw them away. 5 years later I began writing a fictional novel about a woman who lost her husband when he drowned. It encapsulated her life after his death and all of the emotions that go with that experience. In the finest of unfortunate ironies (or perhaps I KNEW what was coming somehow.) my fiancé passed away a year after I began the novel. He drowned. He had read each chapter as I finished writing, helping me edit it. It still sits unfinished in my desk. I doubt I will ever complete it.
When I finally got myself out of an abusive relationship I wrote poems about rage and fear and hope and healing. When I married my best friend in 2011 I tentatively began to fill notebooks with rhyme again.It began with writing my own vows for our wedding. (I had taking a sabbatical from writing after Kens death.) It felt good to put pen to paper once again. Like coming home. When I saw injustice in the world I began to write defiant and strongly worded letters to anyone and everyone who could make some change come about. I started blogging. Not every day like I intended. But at least a few times a week. This turned out to be the very scariest form of writing for me. It is easy to write poems and journals and stack them neatly in boxes for no one to read except perhaps your children when they are grown. It is easy to pen out a well worded letter to a faceless CEO of some company three states over. It is a rather different thing to put your thoughts out there for your peers to read. It carries with it a sense of vulnerability. Sometimes I am just silly and that’s pretty easy. But then we get to days where I write about tiny 6 year olds dying in school shootings and how it makes me feel, or men jumping from buildings, or babies dying in wombs, or husbands leaving, or best friends dying…..and suddenly its all a bit more real and tangible. But as a writer I am aware that if I leave it all inside, it goes nowhere but stuck. This writing thing is for me more than you,I suppose. If something I write makes you think or smile or cry, then I am okay with that. But if no one ever read it, it still would heal me. I liken it to listening to music….really GOOD music, full volume , but never allowing yourself to sing along or dance. These words demand to come out, to sing a song and dance across the page. I am merely the instrument.
I write not because I can, but because I MUST.

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