Chad Crossley

To write is to connect. Such is the vital lifeblood of this craft: the bridging of the then to the now, the noble art of reaching out to otherness, the fledgling and uncertain grasp toward authenticity. This is an axiom I have always held deeply personal, perhaps best encapsulated by the utterly real line penned by Oscar Wilde—”the truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

To write is to connect. Such is the vital lifeblood of this craft: the bridging of the then to the now, the noble art of reaching out to otherness, the fledgling and uncertain grasp toward authenticity. This is an axiom I have always held deeply personal, perhaps best captured by the utterly real line penned by Oscar Wilde—”the truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

The truth, or the idea behind the idea of some all-encompassing truth, is that writing has always held a sort of mystic power in this way, a propensity to encapsulate whole experiences lived and imagined, allowing us to share. It is from some deep recess within us all that this innate certainty shines forth: our drive to document our unique experience, to transmit the sacred gift of story.

The written word is our history, telling us where we have come from, and where we have yet to go. It is that which links us to the same words writ by those who came before us, the continuation of the shared and ever-changing landscape of the real, the breathing legacy of that holy profession that we, would-be chroniclers of life lived, hold most dear. I write to play some small role in this great and sweeping endeavor.

I have glimpsed this reality with my own eyes through the work of countless writers, feeling it beating in my heart as I sit in my favorite leather chair, a hot cup of coffee in hand, and listen to the musicality in their expression, the roaring sing-song oneness of that ever-truthful harmony. Through countless open mics, through readings and rallies and late-night eavesdropping at the bars, through an absurd number of hours spent in silent dusty bookshops, I have felt it alive and well.

We create so that the world may know who we are, what passions blaze within our beings, what injustices and hurts still lie seething. It is an isolating affair, more often than not, a lonesome journey of innumerable hours spent alone, in silence, in doubt, pondering the absurdities of all things: a perk, at times; some cruel and everlasting punishment, at others. It can be hard; tragic, even. But at its root, at its inextricable core, it is an act of cohesion and belonging, a place for the solitary “I” to translate into that far-reaching “We”—a community of writers and readers, of humanity, that expands beyond time and space, past politics and upheavals, circumventing hopelessness, on, and on, and onward still (to that bright and shining horizon of some newly discovered truth).

This is the eternal importance of writing. Above all else, the words remain the sacred signifier, each and every one holding the sacred power of connection—the power to convey, to condone, to condemn.

This is the truth of thing, why I write: to be, while still becoming.

 


 

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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