WHY DO I WRITE ~ Ellen Steinbaum

WHY DO I WRITE ~ Ellen Steinbaum

Why do I write? Dustin has posed such an interesting question, one I was surprised not to have an immediate answer for. The title poem of my book, Container Gardening, has these lines: “apply attention/plainest form of love.” I realize that this is my answer, written into some of my poems:
I write to pay attention.

When I am writing, everything around me seems to call out, “write about me!” “think about me!” “look at me!” I experience the world in a different way then–more thoughtfully and also more vividly. Instead of mindlessly walking through my day, I’m more aware of the things that interest me, please me, anger me, terrify me. Would I notice them as intensely if I weren’t writing? I don’t know.

I do know that the writing–even just the intent to write–gives me this gift, an extra dimension for taking it all in. It feels as if there is a kind of sacredness in this, an honoring of the time I have been given. Another one of my poems ends, “what is holy in this life/is noticing.” All we have, finally, is our time and how we choose to use it, what we think about, what we notice. Writing is how I notice.

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2 responses to “WHY DO I WRITE ~ Ellen Steinbaum

  1. How beautiful.

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Poetry provides a way of interacting receptively with the world. When I write poems, I feel like I am absorbing everything I see.

  2. Pingback: Vote for ‘09 Faves! « I Was Born Doing Reference Work in Sin

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