I write because… I write because when I was thirty-years-old and the world was dark and I was scared, I wrote toward the light. I write because Judy Reeves opened the door to the San Diego Writing Center and I came home. I wrote every Thursday night there for years. I wrote about my dad, my childhood, my dad and about other things related to my dad.

I write because I’m not a black man. I didn’t grow up in the South. I have no idea what’s it’s like to live on the Taos Pueblo. I have no idea what it was like to be Mabel Dodge Luhan. But through my writing I can be a black man. I can speak with a southern accent. I can be Mabel surrounded by artists like Georgia O’Keefe or D.H. Lawrence. I can breathe in the smell of pine and sage burning in the adobe fireplace. I can follow Mabel and [Tony] Luhan up Taos Mountain to the sacred lake.

I write because I hate flying. Who needs a plane when I have an imagination that can take me anywhere on the planet and beyond? I make up worlds or live in places I’ll probably never visit. Does this make me sad? No. For the places I do travel to like Taos, I breathe, feel, hear what it’s like to live there so I can write about it. I write because I want to keep these places near, in my heart and on the page. So when I start forgetting, I can read and remember. I write because Laura Ingalls, Barbara Kingsolver, Mary Karr allowed me into their lives through their writing. I want to do the same for those who read my words.

I write because I want to be heard. I’m 48 years old and I do not want to be invisible. This is what women in their 50s have told me. “You will be ignored.”


I write because I want to be heard and noticed. I write for all those women (and men and children and ethnicities) who don’t have a voice, or feel they don’t matter. I write for all of us to be seen.

BIO:  Michelle Murphy Zive started writing almost 20 years ago when her agoraphobia got the best of her. A writing career was one she could stay in her pajamas all day. While this sounded great in principle (and it may have worked if she made money at writing), she owed her two young daughters to get out of her pjs and greet and meet the day. Today she is the mother of two daughters (ages 23 and 20) and a son (age 9). She won the 2010 San Diego Book Award for her unpublished memoir, HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO: A MOTHER’S STORY, about her oldest going away to college. She started http://www.40pluswoman.com, which is a community for women 40 plus and fabulous. She started this project because “us middle aged women will not go quietly into the night.”