Why I Write

a response to invitation #1

Recently, I participated in the #100daysofnotebooking challenge started by Michelle Haseltine. One of my notebook entries is a list of reasons why I write:

Notebook Entry #100daysofnotebooking

But I don’t think the truth is on that list.

In her TED Talk, Susan Conley (author of The Foremost Good Fortune) shared her response to a question about why she would volunteer her time to do workshops for young writers. Although she hadn’t been quick enough to say it on the spot, she realized later her truest answer would be, “For the magic that might go down.”

That’s really it, isn’t it? The reason why we all write? For the magic that might go down.

Because writing, like most creative endeavors, opens a door of possibility. Even when I am fairly certain I know where a piece is headed, the possibility exists that a new thought will emerge and create magic.

One of the most amazing bits of magic I encounter around writing, though, is the way it impacts my view of the world.

Take these trees, for instance.

At first glance, you may not notice they are wearing metal tags. I did not notice until I began jogging past them in the dusky light of morning. The reflection of light off the metal tags looked like a forest of eyes keeping watch over me.

Years later, with a return to blogging on my mind, I walked down the same path. Something about these tags tugged at me. They felt like a story. I edged into the woods to study them more closely.

I noticed:

  • the tags are numbered
  • the numbers are in sequence from east to west
  • some tags are bent, seemingly from the tree growing around them
  • the tags don’t appear to be selectively placed, but rather they seem to mark every tree

My first thought was to do some research. I wanted to uncover their meaning and purpose. After a quick search brought me nothing but tales of trees marked for removal, I lost interest in what I feared would be a boring truth.

Instead, I prefer to tell my own story of the tagged trees. You see, I am certain there is a forest ranger, likely with a woman with wrinkles of wisdom or a man with a long gray beard, who has been watching over these trees since they were nothing more than seedlings. This ranger carries a tattered log book with pages of lined grids, like an old ledger. On each visit, the ranger fills interstices with marks that tell each tree’s history. The numbers serve as a means of sorting out their stories, since the trees have not yet whispered their names loud enough for human ears.

These many-storied trees are just one example of the magic that might go down when I walk through the world with the eyes and heart of a writer.

And that is why I write.

10 thoughts on “Why I Write

  1. Yes, it is about magic. I agree. This is beautifully crafted and I can already feel my own writing life becoming stronger because I have read your words.

    Next to my bathroom sink sets a wood sign with this quote:
    And above all,
    watch with glittering eyes
    the whole world around you
    because the greatest secrets
    are always hidden in the
    most unlikely places.

    Those who don’t believe in
    magic will never find it.
    -Roald Dahl

    I read it twice a day (and sometimes more if I eat onions for lunch) when I stand at my sink and brush my teeth. Believing in magic is a good way to begin and end the day.

    Shine on,
    Ruth

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  2. Thank you Christy for bringing the magic of your words back into my life. I have missed this magic. I look forward to more magic. Ruth’s comment said it best.

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  3. I love the way you write through your thoughts in such an engaging way.

    ”One of the most amazing bits of magic I encounter around writing, though, is the way it impacts my view of the world.“

    Your words influence my thinking expanding it in a way I couldn’t anticipate. Another part of this magic that I get to participate in.

    Beautiful!

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  4. I don’t know that I would have noticed the trees being marked unless you pointed it out. This is a good reminder that I should keep my eyes open for more magic.

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  5. And you write to share your magic with us! I have missed your voice and your presence in my world. I’m so happy we are writing together again.

    And I love how you wove your “why I write” into the story of the trees

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  6. The magic of your words! “These many-storied trees are just one example of the magic that might go down when I walk through the world with the eyes and heart of a writer.” So glad to have your words back in my heart.

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