Why Do I Write?
I moved a few things in the pantry. And there it was—an envelope of zinnia seeds, hidden away.
Zinnia seeds, out of place, come as a welcome surprise. I am more than ready to order seeds, dig plants, be in the sunshine. I’m told by gardeners, however, it is still too early to put plants in the ground. I listen and I wait.
Outside, the daffodils are in full bloom, and birds play hide-and-seek in the forsythia. It is March—there is a chill in the air.
I am staying alert to the joy of yellow flowers. It has been months and months since I’ve seen them. It’s like there is nothing, then suddenly—a resurrection!
Honestly, I need flowers like I need words on paper. To some, this may sound like a want, not a need. But for me, something comes to life with flowers and writing.
When I start writing, I have no idea where the story or poem is going. I only know that I need to write.
If writing or watching plants were illegal, I’d be in jail. I don’t think I can give up either one. I fell in love with flowers, probably dandelions, when I was four or five. I fell in love with words when I was in seventh grade, and Mrs. Barker was my English teacher.
When the words started flowing in my diary, it was love. I felt euphoric. It made me feel good about myself and about my world.
When I taught high school, I remember telling my students, You are creative. All of you are amazing. Most of the time you may not know it or feel it, but creativity is inside you. It may be sewing, building, writing, playing a guitar. You just need to find a way to let it come out. Once you find it, you will be happier in your life.
I look out the window. The flowers look happy. When I write, I am happy. Each time I start a poem, a blog, or a book, I have this sinking feeling that I’m a phony, that the magic has gone out of me. It feels like the first time I’ve ever written anything. Every time, it feels that way.
When I’m not writing, something is missing. It’s a strange thing. I read something every day. I’ve always been a reader. I read, but this crazy, happy feeling that I see in daffodils is in me when I write.
This is probably me owning my dark side, my bumbling side. It may be too much information for my husband and friends, but I have to own it. If I don’t, I fear I will sabotage my writing or my relationship.
When I write, I have to be me—entirely myself like the daffodils must be daffodils. There is no way for them to be tulips. They were never meant to be tulips. And to write, I must read. Doing both things, I often go through a door into another world. It’s a lovely experience.
If anyone reading this has any desire to test-drive writing, I encourage it. If you find you love it, buy yourself a new notebook and pen. It may help you stay stitched together.
P.S. My most recent book, Going Home: A Memoir, is prose. You can purchase one by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ordering from Amazon. The profits from sales will go to the Lee R. Farrier Scholarship at Norfork High School.
Daffodils ushering in Spring 2023, photographed by Pat Durmon.
Poetry books by Pat Durmon
Going Home: A Memoir This is Pat Durmon's first prose book! A wonderful mixture of her poetry talent and the storytelling of Lee R. Farrier, born in 1932 in a coal truck in Bowling Green, Kentucky. After a traumatic beginning, Lee was adopted by Eunice and Lillie Farrier of Norfork, Arkansas. His story is a gift to the town and the people who raised him. Profits from sales will go to the Lee R. Farrier Scholarship Fund at Norfork High School, Norfork, Arkansas.