Why Do I Write?

For someone like me, someone who spends a lot of time writing, or thinking or talking about writing, this seems like a pretty daunting question. It is not an especially attractive one. Who cares? Who would want to read what I have to say about that? It’s nothing new. So first, I will spend way too long looking through WordPress’ photo archives to find a photo for this post:


I chose one, and I’m in a much better mood because now the question has been changed. The question is now: Why did you write in tiny detail on the palms, and sometimes the backs, of your hands with a black or blue pen until they were covered like instruction manuals, in the last years of high school? Now that’s a good question!

It started out in History class as a way to keep track of my “To-Do” list. I thought I would never forget to do things that were written right there in front of my face! Then the lists kept getting longer and more detailed, and less appropriate for skin-scribbling. I started keeping track of homework assignments and after-school lunch dates with my mom’s friends, or appointments with the acupuncturist who was working on curing my “blood deficiency.” I didn’t know what that meant exactly but I knew someone was looking out for me, so I went.

The acupuncturist was the only person who pointed out with any consistency about the writing on my hands. “Why you do this?” she asked, over and over again. Week after week, I didn’t have an answer. To my surprise, she kept on asking until I started to really think. Why was I writing on my hands? Like, what did it mean?

I can’t say that I ever figured that one out for sure. But that acupuncturist reminded me that life is full of so many people, each with our own personal and cultural perspectives, and I could live forever and not know the half of it. So I read, and I write. Because I love to imagine that I could understand what it’s like to understand all these other people. That acupuncturist really thought she had me pinned– she didn’t, because there was no big reason for my hand scribbling. It was just a way for an absent-minded teenager to keep track of her responsibilities. No greater symbolism, no greater meaning, and I didn’t care about that, either. Sometimes a thing is really just what a thing is, and we have to learn that lesson, too.

So I write to discover all the parts of other people that exist within myself. Not to give voice to the other parts of myself, but to see if I can recognize other people’s voices, out there in the world, just doing their thing, being themselves. They’ll all be fine without me, won’t they?


As the proud owner of a brand-new (free) WordPress site, I am taking part in their 20-day #EverydayInspiration course.

Day 1 Prompt: I write because…

Why do you write? This is a question you can answer again and again, as your response will evolve over time. You may have already addressed it in a previous blog post. Some bloggers also use this question, and variations of it, to shape their bios and About pages. Why am I here? Who am I? Why do I blog?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dr. Shelly C says:

    Awesome! Keep writing ✍️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Uzma says:

    “Because I love to imagine that I could understand what it’s like to understand all these other people.” I could never have said it better myself.


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