I write because of that first chapter book I brought home from the library at St. James Catholic School in Kansas City. Because I sat in the big dilapidated chair in the living room of our rented house on Charlotte Street and read until I had finished it and then read it over again because I was so fascinated by the story. Because that little book with the frayed orange, cloth cover and the faded yellow pages was pure magic to me.

I write because of the way the pen feels against paper and the look of newly formed letters, some neatly written, some no clearer than scrawl.

I write because of the sentences and the paragraphs.

I write because of that thin but strong thread that links the ink that flows through my pen to the blood that flows through my body.

I write because I am most at home with myself when I write. Because it is the one identity that seems to absolutely fit. I write because of the characters and their complexities and their struggles. I write because writing makes the world a story and all the people characters and I can feel kindly toward characters in a way I may not always feel toward flesh and blood human beings. I write because I know the flesh and blood human beings are really characters and this changes everything for me.

I write because of the slipperiness of words and the challenge to hold them still for just an instant as they approach the things I try to articulate, i.e. the emotions, the loves, the contradictions, the fears, the hates, the desires, the whole range of “stuff” that is human.

I write because it is the most creative thing I can do.

I write because it connects me to other writers who share this passion of mine and allows me to be a part of a big community that crosses so many boundaries that often artificially divide us. I write because I love stories.

I write because writing is a dangerous thing, because some have been censored or jailed or worse for what they write. I write because I am free to do so. I write because it is my passion, my art.

BIO: Roxanne Doty is an Associate Professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1991. She has published several academic books and journal articles including The Law Into Their Own Hands: Immigration and the Politics of Exceptionalism, 2009; Anti-Immigrantism is Western Democracies-Statecraft, Desire, and the Politics of Exclusion, 2003; and Imperial Encounters: The Politics of Representation in North-South Relations, 1996. In recent years she has returned to her first and truest love, creative writing and is currently working on a Creative Writing Certificate from Phoenix College and considering a low-residency MFA. She lives in Tempe, Arizona with her dog Kassie, her cats Pita Bread and Rum Tum and a yard full of strays. She writes short stories, a poem once in a while and some short memoir pieces.