Monday, June 14, 2010

Why I Write

When a writer writes, does he write for his audience? And when he is writing a love poem, is he writing for his beloved?

Or does he write for himself? Does he write to study his own expression?

Neither can be correct.

If he wrote for his audience, then within his mind's eye, he would sit within the head of the audience and there would be no honesty in that; he would invent his audience's reviews. And writing above all must be honest. If he wrote his poems for the woman who would read them, the whole exercise would be guess-work; he would chase the reception he hoped for from the woman (a kiss, a roll in the hay). He would not chase anything true. I doubt he really knows her, whoever she is; whoever he is.

If the writer wrote for himself, then where is the directive to draft and redraft? Does he chase his own perfection? That is endless and selfish. Does he chase his desire for expression or a need to respond to the world? Then he should write a diary, keep it beside his bed and be done with it.

No. This is my perspective. The writer writes for God.

There are writers who do not write for God- they write for the integrity of their characters. They write for the worship of words or in praise of a philosophy such as hopelessness or truth. And when they place their manuscript on the altar, then they pray that their characters, their culture's words, the internal logic of their philosophies smile down on their offering.

But I think of God, the only audience member in an auditorium of folded-up red seats, sitting for the premiere of every writer and juggler and architect and painter, and accepting every piece with holy applause.

So, as for my inconsistent correspondence; do not feel flattered or offended. I don't write for you, I write for God.

lost pussy

the living poet
in his harness
of beauty

offers the day
back to g-d

Leonard Cohen


  1. "Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow."
    — Margaret Atwood

  2. Do you need a reason to write, or a reason not to?