Why I Am Not a Writer

On Friday I gave my first lecture of the semester on the topic writing, and after going through all the ways in which we use language to help us communicate our thoughts and our feelings, and reading “Why I Am Not a Painter” by Frank O’Hara, I asked my students to write about two topics:

1. Why I am not a writer, and
2. Why I am a __________.

Part 2 asks students to write about what they are passionate about: singing, acting, sports, social justice, etc. This was my rendering of the assignment, choosing “writer” for both:

Why I Am Not a Writer

I am not a writer because I don’t write every day.
I am not a writer because I let life get in my way.
I am not a writer because my words don’t always flow.
I am not a writer because “how” to write is all I know.

I’m loud, I’m friendly, I’m silly, I’m emotional,
I’m on a journey, and I don’t always know
what to say; however…

I am a writer because I love to write!
I am a writer morning, noon, and night.
I write in my notebook, I write on my phone;
doesn’t matter to me if I’m with friends or alone.

I write to see clearly, to discover, to feel
because sometimes it’s hard to know what is fake
and what is real.

I’m a writer because I have no other choice.
I’m a writer because that’s where I found my voice.

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