Why do I write? by
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Prompted By Why We Write

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I write to change the world. Why do I want to change the world? Because it needs it.

I write to change the world. Why do I want to change the world? Because it needs it.

I write because it satisfies the current manifestation of my Ikigai, my universal desire — everybody’s got one — to explore and express my monkey mind, my love of the world, my amazement at mystery, my hatred of cruelty, my rage at inequity.

I write to hold grief and despair at bay and to feed the guileless spirit of my curiosity.

I write to make myself and others laugh but don’t often succeed. It’s hard to be funny.

I write to make myself useful. I even write to make a living.

I write because I like to speak in voices different from my own.

I write because I like to make shit up and go there any time I want.

I write to describe what happened before, the people, places, and events that shape where we’re at now.

I write because I love the ancient origins, sentiments, sediments, and complexity of language and the knowledge, skills, and experience it takes to make it better.

And, like Bertolt Brecht, who wrote during another terrible time on earth, I want to write to tell the truth about “the barbarous conditions in our country” … “to help put an end to them.” I want to write about these barbarous conditions by “thinking about those who suffer the most from them.” I want to learn how to offer up the truth in such a manner that it will be “a weapon in all our hands.”*

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*From “Writing the Truth — Five Difficulties,” B. Brecht, 1935

 

 

 

 

Profile photo of Charles Degelman Charles Degelman
Writer, editor, and educator based in Los Angeles. He's also played a lot of music. Degelman teaches writing at California State University, Los Angeles. 

Degelman lives in the hills of Hollywood with his companion on the road of life, four cats, assorted dogs, and a coterie of communard brothers and sisters.

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Characterizations: well written

Comments

  1. Marian says:

    Love this, Charles. Writing, even when making stuff up and using a voice different from my own, helps me set the agenda, even if I can’t control the outcome. The Brecht quote is perfect for this chilling time.

    • Thanks, Marian… and yeah, I like the Five Difficulties. A year or two ago, I would have poo-poo’d the ‘under fascism , but who needs an authoritarian military when we got a Supreme Court like this one. I liked your mystery-outcome agenda. Into the wild blue yonder!

  2. And better are we all that you do, Charles!

  3. Laurie Levy says:

    The world is certainly a mess, Charles. As I write this, a gunman shot into a crowd at a 4th of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, a community near mine. I know lots of people there and am praying none of them went to that parade with their kids and grandkids. Would that our words could change the world we face now. Brecht wrote about “the barbarous conditions in our country” … “to help put an end to them.” We must also be a voice for change.

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    Thank you, Charles. You write to help me find my way. I love your writing. It inspires me to be a better writer, to be a better human being. Thank you for being you.

    • Wow, Betsy. Thank YOU for thanking me in such a gracious manner! I’d hazard to say the if I could reach everyone with my writing in such a way, the world would turn ’round much more slowly, merrily, merrily, merrily. After all, life is such a dream. Thank you!

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