Why I Write Stories



I’m sitting at a frozen yogurt (let’s be real, it’s pretty much ice cream) place staring at a blank document. I’m listening to Band of Horses. It’s the right soundtrack after a funeral. I turn to a worn copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude. I re-read the first ten pages, because I need a reminder that there is so much magic around if I’m paying attention.

And this is why I write. It won’t be Band of Horses and it won’t be Gabriel Garcia Marquez and it won’t even be written for an adult audience, but this is still why I write.

I realize that art is an escape, but is that such a bad thing? What are we escaping from? What are we escaping to? I need a reminder, in art, in fiction, in music, about what is real and what is true and what is beautiful.

I put the book down and yearn for a different story. Something magical. Something with hope. Something that taps into a desire that’s been inside of me for my entire life. I start thinking about this book I want to read and realize it’s not there. It’s still not there, because it’s a story that I am going to write. It’s that pesky Keeper of the Creatures that I still can’t manage to re-write.

I stare at the blank document. I still can’t decide how to begin this revision. It needs to start differently. But I want to write this story. I want to make something that I would want to read. I want to make something that my kids will seek out on a day like today when they want to be away so that they can be more present.

This is why I write. This is why I sketch. This is why I dream up worlds that don't exist. It's because it's the only way for me to make sense out of this one.



John Spencer is a teacher, author, speaker, and incessant doodler.
He is the co-author of Wendell the World's Worst Wizard
and the co-founder of Write About .

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