On Writing

Posted by admin on February 20, 2019

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In this, my first newsletter article, it felt important to start at the beginning. For me, in the beginning, there is always the question: Why? All of my stories start with "Why?" or "What if...?" and this, the story of why I write, is no different. And as long as I'm on the subject of questions, I'll go ahead and answer the #1 question I get asked all the time, no matter who I'm talking to or what the circumstances are.

So: Why do I write?

In an interview on the PBS program NewsHour, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "Hamilton" (and one of my not-so-secret creative crushes) was asked about something he said in an earlier interview. In describing why he chose the subject matter he did, he said he asked himself, "What's the thing that's not in the world that should be in the world?" Miranda went on to say, speaking of his ideas and of creative inspiration, "...this is my brain, and unless I express it, it's only going to stay in my brain. It's more about personal expression than imposing your will on the world. It's more about, you know, if I don't get this idea out of my head and on to paper it dies with me." 

These ideas riveted me, so much so, I found the transcripts of both interviews and wrote these quotes down verbatim. They hang on my bulletin board to this day. This, at least in part, is what compels me to sketch the outline of my life experiences with words. I want you to understand the world from inside my skin. It's about human connection, an ongoing need to ask, "You know what I mean?" by telling a story. Writing, for me, is neither a vocation, nor an avocation. It's an imperative. I write because I have to tell these stories, or they die with me.