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Why I Write

I do it for the cat named Dorian Gray, his last moments filled with terror, his pupils dilated to the size of nickels as the vet administered the lethal shot.

I do it for the boy I loved in third grade, for the agonizing awkwardness of seventh, for the “Look how fat she is!” comment made in high school as I leaned over the water bubbler after gym class.

I do it because Adrienne Rich was right: two people together really is a miracle.

I do it because eyes, breath, memory. I do it to piss people off, to scratch an itch, to embrace the pain, to run away from it. I do it because I’ve read something that moves me to recreate the magic for myself, by myself, on the blank page, wand-less though I am, the words falling apart and disintegrating into inky dust that flakes from my fingertips.

I do it to soothe, to slumber, to laugh, to anger, to hope, to learn, to discover. I do it even when the muse packs her bags and leaves without so much as a goddamn note. I do it when she returns, showering her with purple prose until I calm down with coherent thoughts.

I do it when it hurts, because it hurts, because I hurt someone else.

I do it to remember my childhood to forget my childhood to screw over the childhood bully who stole the granola bar from my brown lunch bag.

I do it because of the sunrise, the need to share it with someone who wasn’t there: No, not pink, not purple, not red—the color of love, the tickle of a kiss, your breath against my neck, maybe.

I do it because how else can you pass the time in a hospital, waiting for test results or the chemicals to kick in or the body once alive but now not.

I do it because life, death, madness, loneliness, the fifth floor balcony beckons me to jump, and I consider it, but stop because of the unfinished story, my characters’ and my own. No, not yet. Wait and see how it unfolds. Such a cliffhanger would be cliché.

I do it bird by freaking bird and to shut up the voices in my head.

I do it because of vanity, to make a buck, to get laid, even though Bukowski warned against that.

I do it because I fell in love with Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, the man who built the fire, because the words made me feel.

I do it because of the words, the beautiful words.

Because they understand.

Because they always understand.

This. Is. Why.

I do it.