I had a conversation this morning with my sister and I’ve been thinking about it all day. We were discussing what she wants to be when she grows up and she asked me what I had wanted to do when I was her age.
Me: Be a writer.
LS: Do you want that to be your job now, even though you have a different one?
Me: Yes. I love my job now, but sometimes I get tired of doing so many things. It’s hard to have time to write when I have to work and go to school too.
LS: Why don’t you just stop writing?
Me: I have, in the past. But I can never really stop, because there are always stories inside me, and if I don’t tell them, I don’t feel good. Writing is the only thing I could do where I wouldn’t feel like there’s something else I should be doing too.
LS: But why do you have stories inside you? Can’t you just not think about them?
Me: I’ve tried that before too. But they always come back. They stay inside until I write them down and let them out.
I’d never thought much about why I write before. I just always have. And I’ve never been one to sentimentalize writing, in fact, sometimes I’ve rolled my eyes when people say they absolutely have to write or they shrivel up. I’m a practical believer in the Hierarchy of Needs: you need food, shelter, medicine. Writing is none of those things. But then these words came out of my mouth. And I realized it’s the truth: for as long as I make my living off of something other than words, I’ll have to balance two things. The world wouldn’t be the same place, and I wouldn’t be the same person, if I didn’t write. I see the world in story.
So tell me- why do you write?