I write because I want to find the goose in the gooseberry. I write because I like the way a soft breeze moves forest leaves.

I write because it frees me, and a well-penned letter might free a prisoner unjustly imprisoned.

I write because, if I didn’t, I’d surely evaporate.

I write to quiet the noise in my head, which isn’t a bad noise, but it’s constant and abstract and critical, in all the good ways of critique, but that voice keeps me from being, just being. When I write, when I’m clacking or scratching away, I experience being.

I suppose I write as a form of engagement, like defusing a bomb when one slip will blow you to the hills. It’s an engagement that focuses the mind and quickens the heart.

I write because I love, and loving means entering other minds and letting others enter yours, and there is no better way to do that except to write.


BIO:  John Colman Wood teaches at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. His field research with Gabra nomads of northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. His fiction has appeared in Anthropology and Humanism, and he has twice won the Ethnographic Fiction Prize of the Society for Humanistic Anthropology. He is the author most recently of The Names of Things (Ashland Creek Press). Before becoming an anthropologist, Wood was a journalist.

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