Why We Write

I love Julia Cameron's book The Sound of Paper- Starting from Scratch. It is a book filled with personal essays and exercises to help us when we struggle with our creative endeavors. I wrote first about this book here.

I just gave my sister Julia Cameron's memoir Floor Sample for Christmas. I found this poem inside the book before I wrapped it up. I think the poem articulates reasons I have heard from fellow writers about why they write. Whether that writing is in a personal journal, on an online blog, or in published works I think this poem speaks to all of us. Her other books have been recommended to me and are on my list of books to read. I hope to read her memoir when my sister finished it .

Why We Write
There are many things which resist naming,
And that is why we write.
We write because language is slippery,
And the truth is.
We write because
The light we have to see by
Is always shifting
Never forget that writers are prophets.
We speak in tongues.
We testify.
We are for each other a believing mirror.
Our words make us visible.
Our listening makes us heard.

Never forget that writers are soldiers.
Our writing is the long march,
The walk into time.
Each word is a drum.
We sound it across great distances,
Reaching one another and ourselves.
Every poem is a day's march.
A celebration more necessary than water or wine.
Every poem is a drink of blood.

Never forget that writing is an act of courage -
Not on the days when it is simple and we discount it.
Not on the days when it is hard and we write like sand.
Our words are torches.
We pass them hand to hand
And mouth to mouth
Like a burning kiss.

Never forget to say thank you.
Every syllable is a grace.
-Julie Cameron, an excerpt from her memoir Floor Sample.


  1. Those words make me want to fulfill them.

  2. Great poem! I love Julie Cameron. Did not know about her memoir. Will have to get it and devour it...

  3. I agree Pamela... I left a comment on your blog. I hope all is safer and you have power in your town now.
    Rondi: I hadn't heard of the memoir and stumbled across the poem on somebody else's blog.

  4. I am a writing teacher and my email signature is a quote by Anais Nin:

    " We write to taste life twice."

    That is exactly why I cherish blogging!

    Thank you for sharing your writings with us!


  5. I almost missed this poem the first time around reading your entries. Julie Cameron is a sage.
    Thanks for including this poem.
    [Can you remember when you posted the recipe for your pumpkin/choco chip bread? I'm dying to make it but not careful to keep the recipe.]
    Have a good week!


I always enjoy reading comments!