Why I Write—2022

Every year for National Day on Writing, I reflect on why I write.

It’s like looking at a diamond ring in a semi-darkened room. Different facets catch the light, scattering sparks of brilliant color, red to orange, green to blue. Writing, for me, is an inner fire. A living fire. It is in my blood the way that farming was in my grandfather’s blood, that music is in my son’s, that crafting was in my mother’s, that a love of children was in my grandmother’s. I see different facets even in these comparisons. Farming is about sustenance. Cultivating the earth, harnessing resources to make it produce—this is what earth is designed to do. Music is expression, form, response, sounds in time, even color. It can be endlessly repeated and replicated; it is the unique and universal language of humankind. Crafting…it takes skill to make a new, useful thing from pieces placed exactly right, sewing them together so that the seams don’t detract. My mother was given a hand-me-down sectional sofa covered with pink scratchy fabric (it was 1970s horrible). She studied it, measured it, bought earth-tone floral fabric and cording and systematically created a custom slipcover that lasted for years. The love of children…does this not tie all of the above? Creating, nurturing, producing, expressing, a contribution to the future.

Writing is all of this.

One can make the argument that all these things are learned, and so they are. But that doesn’t account for the compulsion to do them even when there is no need. Granddaddy gardened into his nineties when he didn’t have to produce his own food anymore, when all he could manage was two small rows in the old dog pen after the dog was dead and gone. He carried a chair to sit on and rest between the kneeling to weed. My son hears all the instruments, all the harmonies, in a song; he spends hours recording a song over and over with different instruments, singing the different vocals, until it all comes together like he wants it…simply for the joy of accomplishing it. My mother received little income from the clothes she made for people; she crocheted countless baby blankets as gifts. She made flop-eared stuffed bunnies with changeable clothes, for the whimsical fun of it, never making a dime. Craftsmanship is beauty unto itself. Like art. Like music. My grandmother’s face shone like the sun at sight of children. I was one of her greatest beneficiaries, my life indelibly shaped, still being shaped, by her love. I might also mention it was Grandma who sparked my love of reading and writing long before I could do either.

Writing, in the end, has much to do with story. At least for me. The story of having lived and loved. The story of seeking the beautiful. The story of gratitude for finding it, in all of life’s brilliant facets and sparks, even in the shadows. There would not be shadows if there were no light. It is there, always there, for the capturing.

And so I write.

Necklace given to me by my father. Years later, it still shines.

6 thoughts on “Why I Write—2022

  1. My throat is forcing the tears from my eyes. This is so so meaningful and true. True, that is it filled with love which is life. I adore this and your reflection. Please make sure this is in the world. Could I post it on my fb page with of course full attribution and honor and a link to your blog? I only have 500 friends who are a smattering of “regular folk” and many literacy/poet friends and I don’t think my stuff circulates widely (just for some background if you care). I relate to the: gardening grandpa oh he could grow anything; the crafting mother (my mother, her father ie my grandpa who created so many things he built; the musician, my dad; and the face of love all of these family members. My nana had her own way of showing she cared, it was not obvious through affection, but there nonetheless. My nonna never spoke much English and showed her love by feeding us, though she was not super warm. They were all patient. So much to treasure in how YOU describe why you write. Thank you, Franna aka Fran.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I contemplated “Why I Write” my inner critic went into high gear. Then I read this beautiful post, connecting your love of writing to your family. Writing is all of it, “Creating, nurturing, producing, expressing, a contribution to the future.” I needed to read this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Margaret. Whenever I start writing on “why I write” each year, I wonder what else I really have to say…then something different rises to the surface. This time it was an image – a diamond, facets, inner sparks. Not sure how that led to my family connections. That’s the magical thing about writing! It has an alchemy of its own.

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  3. Oh Fran, your piece has moved me and resonated with me. I love your reflection, your honesty, your comparisons of your “inner fire, living fire” to your family members’ passions. I love how your grandmother’s, granddaddy’s, and your mom’s joys are intertwined with yours, as your son’s passion for music is linked to your writing. “Creating, nurturing, producing, expressing, a contribution to the future. / Writing is all of this.”

    I also love how you begin with a diamond’s “different facets catch the light” and how you wrap up the last paragraph with “in all of life’s brilliant facets and sparks, even in the shadows. There would not be shadows if there were no light. It is there, always there, for the capturing.”

    And you, Fran have captured the love of your family, the love of story and writing, and you have captured the light, the joy. I think, the light, the joy you write about is one aspect of your writing that attracts readers to your writing. The joy you write about brings the reader joy. You are a gift. Thank for your joy and inspiration, once again. I love reading your writing.
    PS I think Janet is on to something with giving your writing a wider audience.

    Liked by 1 person

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