When invited to contribute “Why I Write,” every answer struck me as a public confession of insanity.  At least the honest ones did.

At three a.m. I write because I cannot sleep.  Anxious thoughts scrabble through my cardboard brain like gerbils, tiny nails scratching as they run.  They race around a track, a never-ending loop, until I get out pen and paper.  When I write, I can guide those gerbils from Anxiety A and Regret B to Solution C and Decision D.  Writing lifts them out of their track and down a path with a happy bit of lettuce at the end.  And I can get some sleep.

I write to maintain my delusions.  I still imagine myself in a black turtleneck, artist-in-resident at some revered MFA program, heralded as the Next Great Mind.  I like to believe I will never grow old, that I’m 20 pounds lighter, and that the American public will love the characters I create as much as I love creating them.  I like to believe that, despite the demands of my day job, I can find the time and energy to pen great work.  I write to bind and gag the realist within who says, “Crazy lady, you cannot have it all.”  What does she know?

BIO: Nicole Vollrath earned her MFA at Emerson College in 2000.  She lives and works in San Diego and occassionally teaches Creative Writing at UCSD Extension and San Diego Writers, Ink.