Jake Teeny

I write because I am unconcerned with the number of trees I have to sacrifice to tell a story. I write because I know ink shortages could be resolved with squid breeding programs. I write because my mom once told me I was clever and I forever strive to prove her wrong; because my dad was on the phone when he told me to stop asking questions, so I wrote them all down with exclamation points and because my siblings returned favors after I helped them with their English.

I write because reading has always been my escape, and a pen feels natural in my hands. I write because I fear working in a cubicle, shackled to some job I never really love, marry a wife out of convenience rather than honesty, and finish my existence in an airtight box breathing the recycled oxygen I’ve coughed up three times before. I write because it lets me finally hear what a dragon’s roar sounds like or what deep space feels like; because it reduces the opacity of my walls and permits me trepid glances at the blurred shapes dancing beyond.

I don’t write because I want fame or wealth or praise (though if you have any tips on how to achieve this I’ll retrieve my notebook). I don’t write to be featured in magazines or find “New York Times Bestseller” and “My Name” hand in hand. I don’t write to see the look on my father’s face when I told him I wanted to be a writer and money didn’t matter to me (though if you were there, you, too, would have pocketed a smile and thought it a worthy reason). I don’t write for any of this. Hell, sometimes I just don’t even write.

But if you really asked me why I scrawl the incoherent words and thoughts, tumbling and bumbling around my head like a thousand colored bouncy-balls all dumped in an aluminum sphere; why I guide my fingers across keyboards and lined paper and the skin between my left pointer finger and thumb; why I kneel in prayer to dictionaries and slam my bleeding knuckles against thesauruses, I would tell you this:

I write because I have to. Because some god thought it would be funny to curse my feeble mind to pursue a task fit for authors and poets and minstrels and prophets. A god whose spleen must quiver after thunderous chuckles when watching me stare at a computer screen, white as the light at the end of the tunnel, as I struggle to just sit in my chair and ignore the need to press at my cuticles. And even with all of this, the ego humbling, the criticizing, the shitty writing, the rejection letters, the sleeping legs, the lonely days, I do it because I know there is nothing else that will lift me up, batter me down, satisfy or torment me more than telling stories. And because of this, I write.

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