Today I am inspired by a poem by Dawna Markova, “Why I Write,” from Living the Questions: Essays Inspired by the Work and Life of Parker J. Palmer
There is a wonderful book of essays by 26 writers called Why I Write: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction, edited by Will Blythe. This book, the poem by Markova, and the many writers I have read on writing (see also Writers on Writing) have inspired me to think about the question for myself.
It seems to me that I write in order to hear myself think. Parker Palmer suggests listening others into speech; perhaps writing is my way of listening myself into meaning. Markova’s essay is called “Thinking Ourselves Home.” She says, “I start in solitude. I start in silence. I start from the truth of where I am now to engage in a live encounter with myself. I start thinking myself home…What brings us to wisdom is using our consciousness to reflect on our thinking. It doesn’t just happen to us as we grow older.”
Why I Write
I write to hear myself into meaning,
to note echoes and mysteries.
I write to be aware of each sensation,
to approach it curiously,
to tunnel as close to its center
as my attention will allow.
I write to open to discovery,
to learn, to learn
to dive below the turbulence
where the water is calm and flowing.
I write to encounter
the unfolding of experience
so that when it has passed
I have known it.