Why do we write?

ONE MAY AS WELL ASK WHY WE THINK.

Why do we write? I’d say we write out of a desire to explore and to learn. Out of a desire to explain, to clarify, to share. Perhaps too — and surely this holds true for fiction, though why not nonfiction as well? — out of a desire to create. We write, some of us, because we must. It calls to us. It seems as natural as thought, and as inevitable.

We write for the same reason that we read: for the sheer pleasure, the utter delight of it. To revel in the words, to feel and taste them, to weave worlds or to inhabit the worlds woven by others. To wander, to experience, to live beyond the circumstances of our own lives, our own time and place, our own realities. To time travel. To world travel. To try on the perspective of others.

That, most particularly with respect to narrative.

But for fiction and nonfiction writer alike, to join the grand conversations unfurling over the brief decades of our own existence and across the long and distant centuries, stretching back to the far recesses of recorded time, to the fragments of record-keeping and tallying, experience and artistry, preserved in clay and scroll, a pastiche of lofty human endeavor, the scant remnants of lives lived so long ao, shifted from the soil. To add our own leaf to those conversations, near and far. To commune with thought. To pick our way through thorny issues and difficult questions, matters of state, matters of the heart. To play, to dance, to be. To arrive at clarity. To shout, I was here.

To quell the darkness.