Why I Write

Many people say that they can’t not write or even that their life depends on it. I say let’s all just calm down. I mean, maybe they’re right. If I didn’t write I would certainly go on living—at least I would still be breathing. But I guess it’s true: I would get away with all sorts of things that would actually inihibit true living if I didn’t write.

If I didn’t put my thoughts and feelings down on paper, three hours later they wouldn’t have happened. Whatever was eating me up would be downgraded to “not a big deal” so then I wouldn’t have to deal with it. If I didn’t commit it to paper or the screen I could just rewrite my memory however was comfortable for me. I might just decide that “that thing” that screamed to be written down wasn’t heart-breaking, hilarious, important, terrifying, or beautiful because wouldn’t that be easier?

Wouldn’t it be easier to just ignore our human gift of notation and just let our experience soak into our marrow or evaporate into photos where we could just guess why that smile looked like plastic? Would it be easier to never really stretch our legs but just cruise along at half speed until this thing was all over?

If I didn’t write I could just let my tongue represent my entire self for however long we would stand around together trying to listen and then when we walk away, we could try and remember all that was said. If I didn’t write not only could I forget but so could you. We wouldn’t have to be connected at all beyond the five minutes we just gave each other.

If I didn’t write I wouldn’t have to feel my childhood and I could make up whatever memories for my children that I wanted to, later, using only faint facts that still remained lodged somewhere in my head, heavily seasoned by how my present self would feel the moment my kids ask, “Hey Papa, what were mornings like with me when I was two?” or “How did you get us to go to sleep when we were kids?” And because none of my experience, frustrations, and lessons would be written down I could relive them over and over and I wouldn’t have to make room for new things to grow.

If I didn’t write, if you weren’t within earshot of me, you wouldn’t have to relate to me or read this really hilarious thing I had been thinking about while watching people choose cheese at the grocery store. You wouldn’t have to know what life was like over here in my part of the world, and I certainly wouldn’t know about yours either. Hell, I might not even know that watching people choose cheese was hilarious if I didn’t write. Again, we could just stay separate and not laugh, love, learn, or grow. It would be fine. I mean, we’d still be breathing.