Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Still true, five years later

While digging through an old notebook, I found a yellow index card. It's a list that I copied out of my journal, from an entry dated January 23, 2003. The entry says:

"Reading Beyond the Words by Bonni Goldberg---she has lots of good ideas/different perspectives on the writing life. Yesterday, I read her section on 'Reasons to Write.' I haven't felt much reason to write lately, mostly because I've been discouraged about the lack of an audience. Why speak if no one is listening?"

Here's the list that followed, which I tucked into my novel notebook, so I could look at it when I was faltering:

To save your eyes, I'll retype my scrawled writing.

Why I Want to Write

1) To ask questions

2) To find connections

3) To respond to beauty/mystery

4) To enjoy the thrill of paradox, of struggling to contain two ideas at once

5) To be intimate with the world/with other readers and writers

6) To remember my life

P.S. Bonni Goldberg is involved in some very interesting projects.


  1. I like your six things,#4 especially. My own list would include self-obsessed stuff like "validation," "because I'd rather write than speak," etc.

  2. Wow to #6. I feel that sometimes, which is just frustrating when you have little writing talent (like I do -- it's true, not self-deprecation. This is why I'm the spectator in the gallery instead).

    I'd love to write a post one day about why I blog and would love to hear others' thoughts on it. I ask myself that all the time, since if I didn't stop to blog about books I read, I'd have twice as much time to read even more books. The most honest answer is kind of in line with what Jama mentioned: validation. Or maybe even a sort of arrogance. "I think there are lots of bad books for children out there. Here are the ones I think are good. Read them."

    Hey, at least I'm being honest about it, huh?
    Jules, 7-Imp (who also likes your #3 -- sometimes I ask myself: Why read any other kind of book?)

  3. What a wonderful find. Thanks for sharing. It's so encouraging for audience-less people like myself.


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