Why I write

Let me make one thing clear on the front end of this piece: why someone writes is their business. No artist of any kind is under any obligation to explain why he or she creates. Responding with, I’m sorry, but that’s none of your business, is a just response. It is no one’s business.

As far as I’m concerned, whatever it takes a writer to put words on a page is fine with me. First off, the page can be a hard place to get to and, once there, the necessary experience of being fully present in the moment can be heavy lifting at times. Its the words, the writing that I care most about.  An actor who hopes to win an Oscar is no more betraying the craft of acting than a writer who hopes to win a Pulitzer is betraying the craft of writing. Wanting or hoping for an accolade is not a betrayal of creative purity. To think it is is misguided in the best light, and rubbish in any other light.

I have no problem explaining, to some extent, why I write. For some years now my short answer has been pretty much the same: Sometimes I write because I want to, always I write because I have to. I suppose I could polish that sentence into finer stuff, but I’m leaving it as it is because it was born that way.

It is the sanctuary of language itself that brings me to the page, writing or reading. As far back as I can remember, books and writing have provided sanctuaries I could depend on. Even when I was homeless they were they. I am not by nature a thief, but, when I was on the street, I had no problem at all pinching paperback books off those always-squeaky! book racks in drugstores.

Language is a living thing for me. Words are living beings; they have  shape, movement, sound; they each have their own pulse; they can be moody. I short, words have personality, every damn one of them.

And then, of course, there is this: language is great company. I am never alone when I write or read. Like I said: Sometimes I write because I want to, always I write because I have to.

 

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Books read 2014

  1. “The Brothers Karamazov,” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  2. “Oh What a Paradise It Seems, by John Cheever
  3. “Back to Blood,” by Tom Wolfe
  4. “Charles Dickens His Tragedy and Triumph” by Edgar Johnson
  5. “Master and Commander,” by Patrick O’Brian
  6. “Still Life with Bread Crumbs,” by Anna Quindlen
  7. “The Waterworks,” by E.L. Doctorow
  8. “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens
  9. “Marry Me: A Romance,” by John Updike
  10. “Saint Maybe,” by Anne Tyler
  11. “Bech” A Book,” by John Updike
  12. “Post Captain,” by Patrick O’Brian
  13. “Villages,” by John Updike
  14. “H.M.S. Surprise,” by Patrick O’Brian
  15. “The Best Times: An Informal Memoir,” by John Dos Passos
  16. “Tolstoy: A Russian Life,” by Rosamund Bartlett
  17. “The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens,” Frederick W. Dupee
  18. “The Chimes” by Charles Dickens
  19. “Suttree” by Cormac McCarthy
  20. “Dry Bones in the Valley,” Tom Bouman
  21. “The Troubled Man,” by Henning Mankell
  22. “Faceless Killers,” by Henning Mankell
  23. “The Man from Beijing,” by Henning Mankell
  24. “Jar City,” by Arnaldur Indrioason
  25. “The Garner Files: A Memoir,” by James Garner
  26. “The Dogs of Riga” by Henning Mankell
  27. “Sidetracked,” by Henning Mankell
  28. “The Fifth Woman,” by Henning Mankell
  29. “The White Lioness,” by Henning Mankell
  30. “One Step Behind,” by Henning Mankell
  31. “The Man Who Smiled,” by Henning Mankell
  32. “Sweet Thunder,” by Ivan Doig
  33. “Italian Shoes,” by Henning Mankell
  34. “Firewall,” by Henning Mankell
  35. “Tea-Bag,” by Henning Mankell
  36. “A Treacherous Paradise,” by Henning Mankell
  37. “An Event in Autumn,” by Henning Mankell
  38. “What’s Bred in the Bone,” by Robertson Davies
  39. “Before the Frost,” by Henning Mankell
  40. “The Return of the Dancing Master,” by Henning Mankell
  41. “The Mind’s Eye,” by Hakan Nesser
  42. “Woman with Birthmark,” by Hakan Nesser
  43. “Borkmann’s Point,” by Hakan Nesser
  44. “The Return,” by Hakan Nesser
  45. “The Inspector and Silence,” by Hakan Nesser
  46. “Munsters Fall” by Hakan Nesser
  47. “Regeneration,” by Pat Barker
  48. “Sun and Shadow,” by Ake Edwardson
  49. “The Emperor of Ocean Park,” by Stephen L. Carter
  50. “Never End,” by Ake Edwardon
  51. “Frozen Tracks,” by Ake Edwardson
  52. “Sail of Stone,” by Ake Edwardson

Books read in 2012

This has been a year of delicious reading for me. I’ve made friends with Anthony Trollope, Edith Wharton, and Saul Bellow to name a few. Trollope’s autobiography led me to feel great affection for him. I don’t know what I’d do without reading. I love books. I am utterly perplexed by those who don’t, and, frankly, feel a bit sorry for them. Books offer an endless number of experiences. The date at the end of each entry is the date I finished the book.

Books read in 2012 

1)  “Over by the river & other stories” by William Maxwell 1-5-12

2)  “Ghost Soldiers,” by Hampton Sides 1-17-12

3)  “Ethan Frome,” by Edith Wharton 1-19-12

4)  “Far from the Madding Crowd,” by Thomas Hardy 1-30-12

5)  “The Age of Innocence,” by Edith Wharton 2-7-12

6)  “Madame Bovary,” by Gustave Flaubert 2-16-12

7)  “Summer,” by Edith Wharton 2-19-12

8)  “The Warden,” by Anthony Trollope 2-26-12

9)  “A Ladder of Years,” by Anne Tyler 3-1-12

10)  “The Woman in White,” by Wilkie Collins 3-19-12

11)  “Barchester Towers” by Anthony Trollope 4-6-12

12)  “Autobiography of Anthony Trollope” by Anthony Trollope 4-19-12

13)  “Dr. Wortle’s School,” by Anthony Trollope 4-23-12

14)  “The Meaning of Everything,” by Simon Winchester 5-9-12

15)  “Ragtime,” by E.L. Doctorow 5-26-12

16)  “The Haunted Bookshop,” by Christopher Morley 6-12-12

17)  “The Way We Live Now Vol. I,” by Anthony Trollope 6-27-12

18)  “The Way We Live Now Vol. II” by Anthony Trollope 7-7-12

19)  “The New York Stories of Edith Wharton” by Edith Wharton 7-20-12

20)  “Of Human Bondage” by W. Somerset Maugham 7-30-12

21)  “Dr. Thorne,” by Anthony Trollope 8-26-12

22)  “The Given Day,” by Dennis Lehane 9-8-12

23)  “Moonlight Mile,” by Dennis Lehane 9-10-12

24)  “Shutter Island,” by Dennis Lehane 9-14-12

25)  “Fiddlers,” by Ed McBain 9-20-12

26)  “Fat Ollie’s Book,” by Ed McBain 9-25-12

27)  “Walking to Gatlinburg,” by Howard Frank Mosher 10-12-12

28)  “Pnin,” by Vladimir Nabokov 10-17-12

29)  “Life Class,” by Pat Barker 10-23-12

30)  “Anthony Trollope: A Victorian in his world,” Richard Mullen 10-31-12

31)  “The Dangling Man,” by Saul Bellow 11-5-12

32)  “The Victim,” by Saul Bellow 11-10-12

33)  “Herzog,” by Saul Bellow 11-18-12

34)  “Roseanna,” by Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö 11-21-12

35)  “The Man who went up in smoke,” by Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö 11-22-12

36)  “Every Last One,” by Anna Quindlen 11-25-12

37)  “Humboldt’s Gift,” by Saul Bellow 12-8-12

38)  “More Die of Heartbreak,” by Saul Bellow 12-16-12

39)  “Tinkers,” by Paul Harding 12-20-12

40)  “Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned,” by John A. Farrell 12-26-12