Reasons Why

“Through it all, I write. Writing keeps me sane, gives me a way to get it out, get it down. And this place where I live, these hills, those damn horses, the children–my own and my young students–have molded me as a writer, given me a voice. I know without a doubt that had we stayed in Cleveland, I would be on a very different path. I belong to the trees, the river, these sometimes smothering hills, as I have never belonged to anything else.”

Feeders in the snow

The quote above comes from my essay, Five Doors, Three Windows: Writing Against the Odds, an essay written at a very different time in my life. Those of you who know me well, know that many, many things have changed since the essay was written and published in 2002. But the thing that has stayed the same is my need to write, and the connection I feel to the place in which I write. My office, for now, is still that old sitting room with the impossible five doors, and three windows looking out on my 59.6 acres of Appalachian Ohio.

When I thought about names for my site and blog, I returned to the title of that old essay because I think it says a lot about my growth and determination as a writer. I really don’t know any writers who have a completely easy go of it. We are all scrambling to carve out a place for our craft, a quiet time to collect our thoughts, a brave space in our hearts in which we believe we have something unique to say to the world. It would be easier to knit scarves or bake fragrant loaves of whole wheat bread. Most people would recognize those gifts. But writers long to play with words, get giddy about office supplies, and often prefer to spend hours and hours with imaginary friends. Though we may be excellent knitters and bakers too.

In this blog, I want to explore what it takes to be a writer, not just for myself, but for others on this journey as well. I recently corresponded with a writer considering pursuing her MFA and her questions to me were not just about the program itself, but about structuring a life that can include raising a family, a full-time job, creative and critical writing, extensive reading, and all the other demands on her time. In short, I told her it is always a work in progress. There will always be parts of our lives calling out for attention, demanding first dibs. But if writing is more than a fling, if writing is something you cannot not do, then you are going to be continually finding your way to the desk, to the page, writing against the odds.

All good things,


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