Transfer #23 from Blogspot

A Reminder


You write because it’s the first thing you learned to do. You remember watching your parents sit on opposite ends of the couch and sink into grown-up books (no pictures!) and you couldn’t wait for the day you, too could spend hours reading pages filled with words.

You write because in the first grade the short story you wrote caused the principal of Ella White Elementary to call a conference with your parents where he recommended you receive immediate therapy, and your dad laughed at him, and said “Well, she obviously wrote an effective story!”

You write because it’s what you did because you were too sensitive for television – you cried when Bert and Ernie fought with each other – you hid from the Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch – even then, the world was too much with you.

You write because: Bridge to Terebethea; Where the Red Fern Grows; A Tree Grows in Brooklyn;The Chronicles of Narnia, and, oh! The Wrinkle in TimeYou wake up early in the morning, no matter how badly you don’t want to, and you write becaue the rest of your day is full of words like polyps, carcinoma in situ, metastasis, malignant, in vivo, in vitro, inflammatory – you write because the rest of your day is full of people in lab coats, people telling other people they are ill, people being told for the first time they are dying, people who are bald and thin and must wear masks – your day is full of people confronting death for the first time.  You wake up early and you write because maybe this day you will put the three most beautiful words in the english language together for the very first time.

You write because: The Prince of Tides; Gone With the Wind; The Stand; Pride and Prejudice; The Lords of Discipline; Jane Eyre; Moby Dick; The Heart of Darkness; The Things They CarriedYou write because in the last week you’ve begun to notice long silver strands of hair wrap around your otherwise very dark curls, and while you plucked the first two in a mad panic while driving down I-96 and then called everyone you knew about it, the third one showed up a day later, completely incongruous with your youthful face, and you realized that the days when your hair fell down your back, naturally blond and really, the most beautiful curls around, are gone – and now your hair is much darker and apparently graying and you, Courtney  , (because you can’t quite bring yourself, even six years down the road, to say  in private) have so much still to do that you can’t be worrying and calling people and plucking hair constantly – no, it’s either get thee to a colorist post-haste or move on from your blonde blonde days.

You write because in the gloam of early morning or the silence of late evening, it’s just you and you alone who controls the content of your life, and you write because if you don’t put it all down on paper you’ll continue writing essays and stories in your head all day long and drive yourself to distraction. 

Yes. You get up and you write and you think and you imagine and then you write some more and you do this because you must remember  – you are not the best writer. You are not the most talented writer – you met those people in graduate school.  But you will be the writer who practices. The writer who writes, regardless.  You will write so when you die you won’t ask, what if?

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