Amanda Fletcher

I am born in the middle of a story.

My mother dodges the loaded gun in my father’s hand, his voice rising along the length of his arm.

His “BULLSHIT” is my first word, and then we can’t stop them from coming.

I write because they make fun of me for talking so much, call me Jabber Jaws, ask my mother, “Doesn’t she ever shut up?” I write so the words have somewhere to go.

I write because my mother always has a book in her hand. She takes me to the library every Saturday and lets me take out as many books as I can carry. I learn meaning before pronunciation. I learn how far a page can take me.

I write because I can. Because when I am in the sixth grade, Mrs. Wheeler tells me I am good at it. Makes me enter contests. Sends me copies of my first published poem, says, “Thought you’d like to see your name in print,” and, for a change, I feel right-sized.

I write because I come from throwaway people. Waitresses and line workers, junk men and stock clerks. People who do dark things to each other, leave scars. They throw themselves from bridges, wrap nooses around their necks, stuff towels under the garage door before settling in and starting the car. They set themselves on fire.

My cousin set herself on fire.

I write because my mother dies with a book in her hand. In her note she says, “Things are eating me up inside.”

I write because I know an untold story can kill you.

I write because I want people like us to matter. To see themselves on the page and know they are not alone.

I write because I am the one who is left.

 


 

When the task of writing grows inevitably arduous—and seemingly thankless—we must remember why we started. Inspired by George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Why I Write,” this introspective project highlights our motives for writing. Share your story and join the conversation. Live events are produced throughout the diverse cities of Orange County and feature author readings from curated essay submissions.

  1. Write a 500-word essay explaining why you write.
  2. Submit via Submittable.

The 1888 Podcast Network is a curated collection of educational and entertaining podcasts. Each program is designed to provide a unique platform for industry innovators to share stories about art, literature, music, history, science, or technology.

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