Since my retirement in 2006, people often ask what I do with my free time. I stop and think, and I try to imagine free time! I don’t seem to have much of that even in retirement. Then I mentally list for myself all that fills my time: mentoring, writing, flute lessons, quilting, sewing, needlework of all kinds, reading . . . and oh, yes, there’s my family . . . children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Sigh . . . like a young mother with a large brood I suddenly feel tired after that mental exercise.
So, I opt to give a shortened list of things I truly enjoy, and at the mention of writing invariably the question is, “Why do you write?” I must decide whether to give the full story or a shortened version. Today I’ll give you the short version, and in a few days I’ll continue with the rest of my reasons why.
First the answer to “why?” Simple: I love words, grammar, and the part each plays in creating a story, reporting facts and history, and even in the reading I do. I just love words and all that makes them a part of anything written.
My second answer is that I love to write those words down, either by hand or on the computer. I love bringing words together in sentences, then paragraphs to create a gift for someone else of the written word. How, with all the reading I do, could I not want to give the gift I have received so many times to others? When I read, authors transport me to places in history, they take me on journeys of the mind, they teach me things I’d never thought about before. Truly books and stories are gifts to those who read them.
The third reason, and my last for today, is that ink runs in my veins. That’s right — not blood but ink. My dad was in the printing and publishing business. From early childhood, I could smell the print shop on him when he arrived home in the evening. Even when he moved into management, Dad loved being “back in the shop” with the typesetters.
Here he is sitting at a linotype machine in the shop. He loved what he did, and he had a great deal of his life story tied to printing and publishing. Some day there’s another book to write, I suppose.
Dad was also an avid reader, and together we would read things he’d brought home from work. Later, as I grew older, we’d talk about them. I think perhaps that common love we had for printed matter strengthened the bond between us.
Recently I experienced the thrill of having my first piece published. I am fortunate to have been one of 14 contributors to Loving for Crumbs: An Anthology of Moving On by Jonna Ivin. My love of writing has just increased exponentially with seeing my words in print.
Q4U: Why do you write?