On this first day of 2015, I am meditating, and thinking about many things. One of which is about my pesky, unquenchable desire to write, and why I can’t seem to shake it. Why I can’t just take two aspirin and be cured of this urge to pen words that will live long after I do. Why I can’t just find a new hobby and move on from one that requires you to be chained to a laptop. It’s hard, lonely and hurts so good.
Here’s what I came up with:
I write for me, a woman who was painfully shy and who fought – and still fights – to not be afraid of my own voice.
I write for the middle-aged black woman who serves tea at the fancy downtown dinners of dry chicken breasts and consomme rice. She’s neatly dressed in a crisp white blouse and pressed black skirt and is careful not to give eye contact when she pours. Being invisible pays a minimum wage.
I write for that white mommy of two who can’t remember the last time she did something for herself. Her school-girl dreams – and sex appeal, for that matter – are lost somewhere beneath a pile of dirty laundry and landmines of children toys strewn about the house.
I write for that black man who feels he must still his masculinity in mixed crowds so as not to make people nervous. Each day he must dance to a schizophrenic tune, trying not to forget his steps. One false move could be his last.
I write for that young girl who loves to read. She spends her days cradling books by Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston, and at night she scribbles in her journal, hoping her words will form into artistry.
I write to answer the silly question, “Why do black people still talk about race?”
I write to capture history, and to give voice to those who don’t have one.
Why write? Why not collect coins, sky dive or be a connoisseur of reality TV? I write because I have no other choice. I am compelled to, and when I don’t, I feel as if my air is slowly seeping away. I write to immortalize our stories, to give words wings. I write, so that I can bre-e-a-a-t-h-e.
Tell me, why do you write?