Why I Write?

I gave a reading of a short story I wrote at a small bookstore not far from my home. In a crowd of not more than ten, a young woman raised her hand and asked me why I write. I was stretched to find an answer that aligned itself with truth. I was silent (which was a truer statement than my reply) and said “because it is something that I feel like I have to do.” After the reading I came home with a feeling of uncertainty about my relationship with writing. I sat in my kitchen, drank a glass of red wine and pondered the question, “why do I write?” I took out a note pad and tried to write an answer down but was incapable of bringing forth any letters. I poured myself another glass of wine, and with a feeling of deep defeat I decided to call it a night.

I was awoken in the middle of the night by what sounded like coins being dropped in my bathroom sink. Ever since I was a child I have been afraid of strange sounds in the middle of the night but I put together the courage to go ahead and investigate. My mouth felt dry from dehydration and my eyes were having difficulty adapting to the dark. When I walked into the bathroom I was shocked by what I saw as soon as I turned on the light. I noticed what looked like individual letters jumping around in my bathroom sink. There was a Z and an M hobbling around on my faucet and a G, C and an L spinning around in the base of the terracotta sink. I rubbed my eyes and patted my cheeks to make sure I was not stuck in a dream. I took a deep breath and was certain that I was awake. I walked closer to the sink and looked down upon the words which danced around like some sort of vibration was possessing them.

I then noticed on my toothbrush a W and R. All over the floor were smaller a,e,i,o, and u hobbling around like they had returned from a meal in which they had eaten too much. I was perplexed, dumbfounded by this strange invasion of letters. I heard strange pattering sounds in my bathtub and of course I found more letters slithering around on the tub floor. I lifted up an H and a T and placed them in the palm of my hand. They felt warm to the touch and caused me no fear. I then picked up the W and the R and they quickly ran up my arm and into my hair. I repeated this with the vowels and before I knew it I was covered in words. I fell onto the floor laughing like a mad man…tickled by W and the Vowels which got stuck under my arm pits and in my groin. While rolling on the bathroom floor more letters climbed onto my body. They made their way into my ears and between my fingers. I managed to stand back up on my own two feet even though I was dizzy with laughter. My scalp felt like it was being massaged and my groin felt aroused. In the bathroom mirror I noticed a reflection of myself. “I am covered in the alphabet!!” I shouted out loud with a roaring laugh. They moved all around me like a pack of wild ants. I made my way over towards my bed delighted by the letters which had seduced me without the slightest hint of ill-will or malevolent intention. I laid out on my bed and watched the letters run all upon me. I saw R run around with T and Z jump off of my nose and a,e,i,o and u scramble around on my arm. I was so pleased to be lying on my bed playing with these letters like a child lost in his imagination- that I suddenly realized why exactly it is that I write.

9 thoughts on “Why I Write?

  1. words do that to me too. When I hit upon something which I believe to be perfect I just laugh out loud and have been known to dance a little victory dance in my arrogance. Ha! but yes, letters, words, they are little bastards if you just leave them lying around. Collect them up and put them to work I say.

  2. i’ve filed numerous assault charges on the majority of the letters in the alphabet; but it does little good… the buggers are always let out on bond and back on the mean streets of my mind the same day…

    more than an imaginative approach to answering a question i’ve often asked myself and never been able to answer effectively…

    look forward to reading more…sounds like we share similar influences… enjoyed your paintings, too…

  3. You must have deleted Tribute to Heath just as I was writing my comment which means you must be sitting there right now which is further strange cos my comment was,
    Heath was a fine actor but more importantly as your story illustrates he was a decent honest bloke and there is a sadness right across the nation. (Synchronicitously, Brisbane is where I sit right now, how about that.)

  4. For some reason the blog entry on Heath Ledger vanished and then returned an hour later. His passing is sad and surprising. When I met him I was struck by his kindness and authenticity. When a person like this departs from this planet- it is a loss which causes the world to weep.

    So you reside in Brisbane? What a fortunate chap you are. When I was there I ran along the canal every morning and covered a good majority of the city with my footsteps. I felt calmer in Brisbane that I had felt in any city. It is my belief that time moves slower there. Must be the tropical climate and good beer.

  5. It’s true, nothing delivers a dose of benevolence like a well formed phrase — but it seems to me, the more prominent the vowels, the more beautiful the sentence: the little pudgy, drunk, replete bastards.

    Consonants come in and mess everything up with their sharp elbows and knees. How was it sleeping with a “T”?

  6. It was Tolerable- yet a little Tense.

    “Consonants come in and mess everything up with their sharp elbows and knees.”- this is so true!! I have small wounds all over my body today.

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