Why I Write

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October 20th of every year is The National Day On Writing sponsored by National Council of Teachers of English [NCTE] and The National Writing Project:

Every October 20, NCTE celebrates the importance, joy, and evolution of writing through a tweetup, using the hashtag #WhyIWrite and events hosted by thousands of educators across the country. This year we’ve launched a new website. Visit WhyIWrite.us for resources, the latest hashtag conversation, and a brand new podcast series.

NCTE

Click the links above  for resources. Many other organizations and writers have joined in:

Do you keep a grocery list? Scribble notes in the margin? Post in Facebook? Tweet? Write letters to friends? Leave notes for your kids in their lunchboxes?

Why do you write?

Please let us know using the hashtag

#whyiwrite


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Why do I write?

Like Isaac Asimov says, writing is “thinking through my fingers.” But I’m an introvert: I don’t share my life well in conversation. I have friends who turn everything into a story. If they’ve been to the grocery story, they’ve got three stories of events from friends they met there, plus the great buy on kalamata olives, and the spider that dropped down in front of their face as they started their car. How do they do that? And they’re interesting, and fun to listen to.

Here’s an example. Last week I stopped by the art supply store in a nearby city because, in a small town, we have no art supply store. I parked in the dirt parking lot, fenced in with chain link,  behind the store in a somewhat questionable neighborhood. On the back porch across the street, young men sat chatting and laughing. I grabbed my purse and walked through the lot into the store at the side entrance. My eyes brightened at all the wondrous supplies of paper and pens– and the paper and pens I wanted were on sale. I gathered my purchase and walked on the sidewalk back towards the parking lot and my car.

Walking in the street, aligned with me and my walking, was a man with short brown hair wearing a big black backpack vest with things dangling off it. I didn’t think much of it, except he was walking in the street and speeding up. I reached my car, which unlocks nicely at the touch of my hand on the door handle and kept watching as the man continued towards the house across the street while I threw my purchase on the passenger seat and started the car. I paused and held my breath. Directly in front of me were police dressed in black and those vests you see on detective shows and holding a huge gun on the front door of the house directly across from me where young men had just been chatting in the back.

Oh my gosh. I just wanted to get out of there; I don’t want to be part of this movie. I backed up and left, rolling my window down to let another customer know they should hurry due to the action on the corner.

About an hour later, I arrived at my son’s house and almost forgot to tell them about my fearful experience. I did forget for two days to tell my husband when I returned home. It was a story– a big story, and I’d already forgotten it.

But not really. I just don’t open up. But it’s there– experiences that help me connect to and understand the emotions of others and their stories; experiences that add the nuances and details to the things I write about; experiences and emotions that, in my listening to others in conversation, provide the background of connectedness and conscientiousness to see and believe that we are all related, just like my Native American friends have taught me. And writing helps me think through those connections and organize and reorganize my ideas, values, and beliefs.

I write to

  • think
  • imagine
  • clarify
  • connect
  • organize
  • tell stories
  • inspire poetry
  • remember
  • share
  • hope
  • believe the world can be better

I write to capture the muted green of the toad on the doorstep, the swallowtail butterfly on the yellow African daisy, the laughter of ninja grandchildren in the twilight coolness of a summer evening, and the soothing call of the mourning dove each evening.

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I write to wonder at the world and its mysteries, and our human mysteries. [Weekly Photo Challenge]

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I write to share a history of our nation lest we forget, tanka poetry [#NaPoWriMo] for capturing nature’s changes, an encouragement of the work of other educators sharing their ideas. I write, thankfully, with friends in #clmooc, #jjaproject, #tfotofri.

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I write to connect the stories of mine and others.

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I write to share kindnesses and hope.

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I write to remember.

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I write to be remembered.

I write, because Donald Murray is correct: “Writing is hard fun.”

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Wall stencil in my classroom.

I write to “bring her on and let her scream.” [#NaNoWriMo]

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I write because

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I write to connect and learn with others as I journey through life with them– as we build a better world while we muddle through difficult times:

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I think. I am. I write.

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