Why do we write?

Why I write? A question I would have no issue answering. Why anyone would want to read that? A question I would respond with the godforsaken, Millennial “I dunno.”

So in my best attempt to answer that inquiry, I plan to take a very Orwell/Didion approach in the sense that I will dance around the question and produce a satisfying– yet, not completely clear– response.

First of all, not everything I write is for somebody else’s eyes. For example, I should adopt Daniel’s approach and simply burn the pages from 13-year-old me’s diary. The title, “Why I Write” is not necessarily a completely private piece of narrative, but I think that is how it is written. Orwell and Didion both exemplify that there are different styles or types of writing, authors, and audiences. Their narratives, however, seem to be this unique kind of material, in some sort of limbo-genre. I think that is because they are written as if no one else could have read it, and they would have been perfectly satisfied with their piece. This is the factor that stood out to me the most, in both pieces. The ambiguity of genre, that resembled something as innocent as a journal entry, gave me the impression of complete authenticity. And the fact that the words I was reading resonated with me, made the experience feel like a genuine connection between me and the writer. It inspired me to explore why I write.

So, the prompt was posed in various ways:

  1. The reason I think people might want to read my essay
  2. What I think is potentially interesting about my own writing
  3. What I think I have to offer in answering the question “Why I Write”

My answer is opportunity. The process of me answering that question will reward me with self-realization, new ideas, understanding, etc.; but, the process of someone reading that answer will hopefully reward them with the opportunity to reflect on themselves, the opportunity to connect with another person, and the opportunity to think more broadly about why we all write.

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