Preface: This is a short essay I wrote for a class recently. The prompt was titled, “Why Write?” What follows is my response.
When I was six years old, I went on a vacation to the beach with my family. Despite the sand rashes and peeling skin, the salt water cleansed me of everything I had never known for the first few years of my life. Raised with humidity, corn crops, and endless dirt roads, I fell in love with the unfamiliar sting of the ocean.
It was then I decided I would grow up to be a marine biologist. I would study seashells and fish migratory patterns and of course, have a dolphin as my closest companion. I would essentially be a mermaid, that was my dream profession, but marine biologist sounded a lot more impressive to adults.
But then, the balloon burst as I was dragged away from the shoreline and thrown into the backseat of the pickup truck once again. As a six year old with a short attention span and a quick-moving mind, I soon forgot the taste of salt and my desire for a friendly dolphin. This may be in part due to the next progression of elementary classes, and partly thanks to a free writing hour once a day.
As the teacher instructed us to sit back with our pencils and notebooks and jot down our current thoughts, my hand couldn’t move fast enough. It was really quite irritating. It was as if there were so many ideas and thoughts and feelings and words and stories just bottled inside my five-foot self, and they all had to escape at one time. The teacher noticed how frantically I wrote, how hard my pencil pinned the paper against the desk. However, as a writer herself, she could only sit back and watch the magic unfold, knowing full well that this gift was the most wonderful blessing and the most infuriating curse.
The freedom I felt from writing was incredibly liberating, energizing, and yet, exhausting. I would come home each day with my notebook tucked under my arm and collapse onto my bed, staring at my ceiling and feeling deep in my bones that there was more to be said.
Nearly ten years later, my bones still ache with that feeling.
And if I had to guess, as people ask what I want to be when I grow up, that the feeling will never go away, because as a writer, there will always be more to say.
That’s why I write.