Why I Write: Then and Now

Why is she driven to tell the tale? Usually it’s to go back and recover some lost aspect of the past so it can be integrated into current identity. ~ Mary Karr, The Art of Memoir


In the late hours of the night while my husband, my son, and my daughter all sleep, I sit illuminated by the glow of a computer screen and type away, pour words into a document that marks my first real attempt at story: a novel about a young woman who is grieving the loss of her mother, searching for her in the waters of Lake Michigan, in the faces of strangers.

It is all fiction, of course, but not really. This book, complete in its first draft but tucked away in a file, is not for publication but is a work of concession by a young woman who suffered the loss of her mother too soon and who needed those late-night hours to process her place in relation to a son and a daughter.


In between work hours and dinner and the folding of clothes, after tucking my daughter and my son into bed—though both kids, one a teenager and the other almost, are beyond tucking-in…let’s call it herding them into bed—after all that, I write. In journals. On screen. In countless spiral notebooks.

I write.
To-do lists.
Essays in draft.
Outlines of story.

Moments of angst.
Visions of truth.
Conversations I do not want to forget.

I write, and every word I record reveals something about me in relation to you and the way we view the world.

The loons at midnight (how I feel most days).
If we could only page ahead in life (during those times I wish I was prophetic).
Where opposites attract (about the horseshoe counter at our local diner)

Each kernel of knowledge another piece to the puzzle of me.

About Christi Craig

Christi Craig is a native Texan living in Wisconsin, working by day as a sign language interpreter and moonlighting as a writer, teacher, and editor. Her stories and essays have appeared online and in print, and she received an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train's Family Matters Contest, 2010. You can send comments or questions via her contact page.
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One Response to Why I Write: Then and Now

  1. Patrice Gopo says:

    Beautiful! I love thinking about the reality of our motivations for writing shifting and changing over time, a reflection of the way we shift, change, and mature. Thank you.

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