Why I Write

Sitting in the cool silence of heartbroken contemplation, sneezing after every other word, the pen’s vapors a constant reminder that what any writer does is dangerous: unlocking oneself to the world through flimsy paper pages, such bad keepers of secrets they are. Writing is often a terrible business: you put your work on display, your personal work that may as well be your essence, for the world, and pray that it doesn’t spit it back. Sometimes, a prayer not answered.

Falling rain is inexplicably comforting. What do cold drops from heavy heavens have to do with a man’s trudging search for peace, a hunger for and a delicate attainment of the elusive balances of life? My mind is altogether woolly and clear, and as my pen gyrates to its capricious rhythms, the words that come to float cut like broken glass on tender hands.

I am now exposed, unshed and unshod, undressed of airs and silences. If I remain clothed and quiet, these words will kill me, rot me from inside. Wouldn’t it be a pity to die with stories untold, to have never moved or touched without touching, those around you, those daring enough to stare into the darknesses of your heart, daring enough to walk with you, even?

There was a time I was obsessive about this, and I may have gently stroked a soul or two, ignited others, perhaps. I had more pain then, it seems. Looking back, I had nothing, not “the right words”, nothing to lose, therefore everything could be given. Then again, no one owns any words. They are only borrowed to do one’s bidding, although in the moment, they may be claimed: when the stories are told, when the stories are read, heard and move and enrage and enliven. In that moment, they become the storyteller’s, the audience’s.

My nothings now are the noises, the doubts in my head. Life will do that to you, tell you that you can’t. The tragedy is that most of us believe it. I did, I do, I have far too often. And I find myself here, back to these alone and mostly lonely ways. Nothing ugly was ever created in solitude. To purge the pained and painful thoughts and mend the tattered heart, the art offers a release unlike any other. This is the only sordid business that can impact, soulfully, now and for eons. So, I write.


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