Thinking about why I write is almost like asking myself why I smile. Why do I say “Hello” to strangers on the street? Why do I look so deeply into children’s eyes? The answer is simple: because I must. It makes me feel good. It makes me who I am. Genuinely and at no real cost to anyone or myself.
I am the eldest of three children. At some point, I think I had a loss of control. My parent’s split, we moved, I changed schools either because it was time to do so or because we moved. Words were, and still are, the only thing I can control. I can manipulate words; I don’t take advantage of them — that would be rude. Disrespectful. But like a child playing with dolls or stuffed animals or marionettes, I can make them do what I want in a playful, magical, enticing way. I can bend them; move them here, or there. Put them in a corner to be played with later. I can control them in a loving way, in my own mind, in my own space. For me.
While I had a journal from about age nine, where I stored poetry and short stories, I like to think my first “serious” writing and first published book was “The Life of a Flower”. It was a 6th grade school project where we crafted a proper book, bound with fabric and cardboard and complete with a story written on construction-paper pages. My story was about … the life of a flower. How it goes from seed to full bloomed flower to being cut and put in a vase for someone’s selfish enjoyment to where it then eventually dies. I loved that book. I was published. I got an A-.
My parents say I was a different sort of child. Sometimes, I hate being different, but there’s no way that I cannot be this way because I see and feel things differently.
Perhaps I write because there is something in my blood that forces me to do so. A truth serum. A special gene. A drive. A will. A something. I don’t always know what that something is, but it knows me, differently, and for that I am grateful and for that I follow its will and for that I honor it. Gladly.
And lastly, I write because someone else may need me to do so. For them. I hope to inspire. I hope to mentor. I hope to be the winning horse in the race, the determined wolf in the pack, the reckless speed boat crashing through the waves, or even the lone sailboat resting in the crimson horizon at sea. I hope to be that someone for someone who others have been for me. Jackie Collins. Carrie Bradshaw. Clare Boothe Luce. Edna St. Vincent Millay. e.e. cummings. Vicki Rogers. Suzan-Lori Parks. Zora Neale Hurston.
I write, we write, because we must.