Why do I write? A few years ago I was asked that question and I was surprised not to have an immediate answer. Why do I write? Hmmm.

The title poem of my book, "Container Gardening," has these lines:

apply attention
plainest form of love

And, that, I realize, is my answer, written into some of my poems: I write to notice.

When I am writing, everything around me seems to calls out, "write about me!," "think about me!" "look at me!" I experience the world in a different way--more thoughtfully, more vividly. 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 an extra dimension for taking in the world around me. It feels as if there is a kind of sacredness in this, an honoring of the time I have been given. Another poem, "In Anne's Studio," 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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©2004 Ellen Steinbaum

My photo on the home page is by Peter Urban.
My author photo is by James Dalsimer.
The book trailer video is by A. Dalsimer.
The cover of Afterwords was designed by Kate Misail.
The painting on the cover of Afterwords is by Eric Sealine.
The painting on the cover of Container Gardening is by Faith Hochberg.
The photo on the cover of Brightness Falls is by Lora Brody.

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