Why I Write

Ever since I was little languages came easy to me, as they do, of course with most children. By the time I learned to talk I had picked up Mandarin from my nanny, Dutch & English from the other adults and children, and Portuguese from my mother. Being the child that I was, I would regularly pick out the easiest words to pronounce in each language and mash them together into a sentence that could not be understood by anyone other than myself and my brother.

Over the years I’ve forgotten all of my Mandarin and Dutch, but my interest in languages persisted. After I had some trouble in school my teacher suggested that I start a journal. I took to it like a bee to honey and filled an entire notebook in barely a month. Mind you, one line of my writing took up most of the page at the time, but I never stopped craving notebooks since. I could spend hours in a stationary shop, drooling over all the different notebooks, wanting to take all of them home and fill each of their pages with my still horrid handwriting. In fact to this day, when I need to express my feelings to someone I would much rather write it in a letter than I would confront them face to face.

Catharsis means different things to different people. Some people prefer to paint, others scream into a pillow, others exercise. I write. I let every word I feel flow onto a page and release it from the eternal chaos in my mind. I write because it clears my mind. I write because I’m happy, or sad, or angry. I write because in many ways it’s the purest way that I can be myself, express myself, and open myself to the world around me. I write for me, in the hope that you’ll find yourself somewhere between the lines.

“Do You Have Any Advice For Those of Us Just Starting Out?”

Ron Koertge

Give up sitting dutifully at your desk. Leave
your house or apartment. Go out into the world.

It’s all right to carry a notebook but a cheap
one is best, with pages the color of weak tea
and on the front a kitten or a space ship.

Avoid any enclosed space where more than
three people are wearing turtlenecks. Beware
any snow-covered chalet with deer tracks
across the muffled tennis courts.

Not surprisingly, libraries are a good place to write.
And the perfect place in a library is near an aisle
where a child a year or two old is playing as his
mother browses the ranks of the dead.

Often he will pull books from the bottom shelf.
The title, the author’s name, the brooding photo
on the flap mean nothing. Red book on black, gray
book on brown, he builds a tower. And the higher
it gets, the wider he grins.

You who asked for advice, listen: When the tower
falls, be like that child. Laugh so loud everybody
in the world frowns and says, “Shhhh.”

Then start again.

from Fever, 2006
Red Hen Press
source: http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/007.html