I write because it is what I remember. I write because I cannot remember not writing. I write because I remember all my selves when I write.

I write because Mary Poppins the book was so very different from Mary Poppins the movie. I write because of Lois Lenski, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Roald Dahl. I write because I could buy ten different realities at the used-book store for a dollar every Friday during summer vacation.

I write because I am the oldest daughter of an oldest daughter of an oldest daughter and I have sons. I write because my maternal grandmother wanted to write but left all her notes in personalized shorthand, an as-yet unbroken code. I write because my paternal grandmother gave me her rolltop desk and I love to write where she paid her bills.

I write because it’s easier than talking. I write because people talk so much. I write because I love to listen. I write because once people learn I write they talk more quietly and tell me their secrets, sometimes without realizing it.

I write because when I was in sixth grade, my stories were the only reason the popular girls talked to me.

I write because the typos and piss-poor quality of composition in my local paper drives me berserk.

I write because I love words. I write because I love shaping the letters of words with my pen. I write because I love to find just the right word in my thesaurus. I write because I can revise if the right word turns out to be the wrong word. I write because I love to rewrite.

I write because it feels good. I write because Lexapro’s side effects are less-than-desirable. I write because I love the world. I write because of the stories in the world and the stories of the world. I write because when I don’t write I am mean.

I write because I’m a mom, and writing legitimizes my need for quiet solitude. I write because I need the stories even more than the quiet solitude. I write because the writing that grows from quiet solitude sparks conversations with up-til-then-total-strangers.

I write to meditate. I write to think. I write because it cracks me open and it splits the world apart.

I write because I don’t believe in God. I write because I might believe in God.

I write for my life.


BIO: Lesley Howard‘s refrigerator magnet says it all: “Housework ain’t no joke.”

She is a freelance writer, introverted stay-at-home mother to two extroverted sons, founder of the New River Land Trust, and of the opinion that although the world is going to hell in a handbasket we still could take a page from the book of Dogs: it is best to start the day with a walk in the woods and a big breakfast.

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