I Write, I Am

I write because I have to. I have no choice. I write to remember when my three-year-old daughter wanted a twizzler stick in the worst way and was near tears from my not understanding before her four-year-old sister interpreted, stating that girls who march in a band use them.

I write because I like to make lists, and if I’ve forgotten to place an item on the list that I had just finished, I write it down just so I can cross it off. I write in my journal, stashed by the bed for those quick moments when pen and paper are needed, or in my computer journal when thoughts are speedier than any pen I can use.

I write to record titles I might use for a book one day. I write to reflect and mull over a problem. I write when I am angry and do not want to spread or spill my evil thoughts to loved ones who would be horrified at the level of venom that would be in my bite. I write because I believe that words on a hand-made valentine or note stuck in a lunchbox are long-lasting than those same words mouthed.

I write because I want to perfect my craft; I smile secretly every time I use a semicolon. I write because I now see the wisdom of my old English teachers. I write hoping to create that masterpiece: a Pulitzer Prize winning book, an Ocar-winning script. I write because I hate to be boring, which I believe I am more times than not in person. I write hoping I am an example to someone . . . somewhere. I write because I like being amazed when I read something I had written the night before thinking at the time that the writing stank; but instead, reading it the next morning, not remembering having written it, I realize that it’s pretty good.

I write because words are important to me, which clarifies why I like playing Boggle, Scrabble, and Charades. I write because people are screaming in my head that they want a life. I write because I am an inky vessel with penned fingers that fly across the keyboard. I write because while I may have a life, in that life, often I can’t speak the words that I can place on paper. My life is my thoughts. I write because I wake up hearing conversations. I write because I ponder about the small voice I hear. I write wondering where it truly comes from.

I write so that I will remember fall leaves, a deep dark blue stormy sky that threatens winter, and Canadian geese flying overhead, telling me they are leaving. I write so that I hear others laugh. I write so that I can smile broadly when a reader informs me that I made her cry. I write so that I can be astonished when he tells me he nearly ran off the road for the same reason I made her cry. I write so that I can lose sleep and lose track of time. I write so that time is preserved for others. I write so I can be amazed by the time that races past me. I write so that I can give voice to those who without me would have no voice. I write to provide others a lighted path where they need not tread lightly. I write so that I will not wither into a shell, lost in the wilderness of society.

I write because I enjoy being alone so that I can share. I write so that I can share being alone. I write because I feel safe from the monsters that threaten to capsize the small boat I row in the raging river of life. I write because my writing provides me a voice I might not otherwise have. I write because words ground me. I write because writing is my inheritance. I write because I can. I write because I must.

I am because I write.

About Diana Stout

Screenwriter, author, former English professor
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2 Responses to I Write, I Am

  1. I’m so glad to have found your writing. Yesterday I wrote that writing is my life and my life is my writing. It has grown on me. I never started out to be anything beyond a reader. It just never occurred to me.
    But writing has been, and continues to be, a lifetime process of becoming. I write for all these reasons you’ve listed and for that one specifically; it is the way I have found that I can become.
    You said you write to share and I am so glad you do. Thank you.


  2. As John Gardner and Stephen King both said almost immediately in their books On Writing: Writers write. Steven Pressfield–You should read The War of Art if you haven’t already–says that writing is a duty that defines those inclined towards it. He says that writers aren’t whole or balanced if they’re not writing. Sounds like that’s true for you; it certainly is for me. (I’m an English teacher, and I smile inwardly when I use semicolons, too.)


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