Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why I Write: National Day of Writing

What I write:
Grocery lists
To-do Lists
Scattered Poetry
Scrapbook journals
Comments to kids
Notes to colleagues
Thank-you notes
Facebook messages
Birthday cards

Why I Write:
To keep in touch
To Share
To Learn
To Explore
To Rant
To Create
To Give Encouragement
To Leave a Mark
To Record My History

But really, I write because I always wanted to be Harriet. You remember Harriet...Harriet the Spy ?  After I read that book, my life changed.  I took my little writer's notebook and roamed our neighborhood, spying on the neighbors and writing down what I saw. I wanted to be Harriet.

Eventually, that writer's notebook became a diary. I wrote down inconsequential things that meant nothing to no one. I remember keeping real feelings locked inside and only wrote down what I thought people wrote in diaries.

Mrs. Henke and Creative Writing entered my life in high school and along with her a love of writing poetry (notice I didn't say a love of teaching poetry). My diary became a journal (really--what is the difference if it still is full of the inconsequential), and my writing became the fluff of silly teenage girls everywhere.

With college and an English minor, I wrote as I imagined the great writers wrote. Stuffy. I hated it. And writing left my life for a good long time.

Except, of course, for the annual Christmas letter, which I tried to make as creative as possible.

And, now, I'm back. Writing for me. Writing because I can't imagine not writing. Writing about life so the world (well, mostly the grandkids) knows I was here. Writing so others know I cared.

But, seriously, I write because deep down, I still want to be Harriet!


  1. Loved your words, but especially about Harriet/your history. You are right to go back to the very core, to find what is especially important to YOU! There are many reasons, and I love to write with students, but the essential words are for me. Thanks for reminding me to think through to the priorities.

  2. Just wanted to tell you that because of you, I found the book Harriet the Spy and actually put it into the hands of a young woman writer. She seemed thrilled.

  3. Love that you did that! I hope it inspires her as much as it did me!

  4. Harriet is an old favorite of mine too! Harriet and Anastasia Krupnik--I loved her lists. I am so happy you have found a place for writing in your life again! Your words provide a rewarding connection for me.

  5. I love Harriet too! That brings back a lot of great memories with my grandma.