I write because I can’t help myself, and though I sometimes put it off, writing catches me eventually and there I am, either with paper & pen or with fingers & keyboard, listening, crafting, thinking, listening, feeling, crafting, wondering if what comes out is anything worth keeping/sharing, and cycling through all this season on season.

I write & keep writing because the world makes me, with its bugs & flowers, accidents & puzzles, questions that continue to pull at the corner of my mental sleeve, and say “hey, ask somebody else – maybe they’ve  figured it out.” I write to figure things out.

And I write because why not? With all the things to do in the world, moved to create, to foster social change, to understand, I seize writing as a lovely art, a victimless crime perhaps, that, like the Buddhist monks’ self-immolations in the sixties, speaks to necessity with the voice we can muster.  Words move. They enflame, they soothe, they are permanent, once formed. They leave us and wander out to be heard or to disappear, but never to not exist. Yes, I did write never to not exist. That’s the point.

I write because it’s too beautiful here not to write; I write because it’s too terrible here not to write.

I grow things: vegetables, flowers, fruit, herbs.  My garden possesses me also, as writing does.  Beautiful & attended by varying degrees of delight & frustration, tomato plants, peppers, cucumbers, chives & lavender & hardy kiwi & goji, lemon balm in flower, poppies, nasturtiums, tansy, these provide peace & sustenance, hours of pleasure & minutes of deliciousness for myself and for passers-by. The same impulse – to grow food – moves me to write. In writing I encourage delight in understanding, moments of joy, recognition of grief, to grow some reality – most importantly in myself, & with hopes to do so in passers-by, recipients, casual or deliberate, of the words I hang together and send out.

I write to grow some beauty, exactness, connection.

Writing finds me an additional dimension in which to move.  We walk, run, bike, drive, along a surface; writing moves us through time and space differently, words expand our range of experience, and when we write, we rise & fall as our words move through others’ experience.  Doors appear and windows open in empty walls.

Things sing; writing wakes us to that music.


BIO: Clara Burns is a poet, artist, translator, & gardener in Denver, Colorado. Published works: the long poem Phantastic Voyage, and Photoinsensitive. Translations include among others Peck Me Up, My Wing, Selections from the Work of Friederike Mäyrocker; forthcoming work to appear in “Spoon River Poetry Review.” Her poetry has appeared in Poetry New York, Bombay Gin, and currently in various online poetry journals.  Find out more at  http://www.impossibleplace.com

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