Adam Gollner: Why do I write?

The act of sequentially placing words will always remain mysterious, but here are some reasons:

To pry meaning from absurdity.

To record moments.

To enter people's lives. To be alone.

To commit experience. (Props to Wallace Stegner.)

To help, to share, to celebrate, to mourn, to burn, to connect, to struggle, to believe.

To observe the upward gliding fog and the downward rolling fog, also known to atmospheric weather specialists as Kathodos and Anodos.

To figure out the ways in which it can't be figured out. To dwell in uncertainty.

To feed the landlord. To attempt jokes about being a tenant in my own home.

To say things never said before.

To spend time in the presence of something resembling something else.

To have a reason to visit libraries. To read hundreds or thousands of books about a certain topic and then condense everything into one volume. To enjoy knowing what I am learning about before it is forgotten.

To study impulses.

To tremble before the heart's secrets. To scatter letters at the fear of death.

To stand on the side of the pool gazing at a swimmer under the waves.

To fill your body with stars. To go to battle. To see the night sky lit only by flowers.

To be vulnerable in unanticipated ways.

To start over, again. To slide down a beam of light from a tower in the forest.

To be part of an invisible community. To understand Mallarmé's "A Toast," especially in French. To not pick up that halo in the snow.

To feel Life-Force bleed through the inertia and depression. To avoid turning into a stone.

To have the impression that I might make a lasting impression. To disabuse myself of illusions. To realize just how inconsequential this all is.

To take long baths.

To make my parents proud/mortified.

To sacrifice leisure to the cuneiform Gods while also having wine connoisseurship be an acceptable corollary to my skill-set.

To be serene and despairing.

To gaze upon the limitless ocean of Beauty.

To write is to wander, to explore, to get lost, to make errors, to not know what you are doing. And to inhabit that not knowing.

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