Why I write

Juni from Out of the Well is in the process of compiling a book on writing. She wants “real people, people who write and love writing, to share about their love of writing.” She asked me to  share my thoughts. Here goes.

While I was teaching English in Seoul I met an elderly Korean woman who was homeless. We met by a twist of fate. She read her newspapers quietly, attended church and spoke to few people. Miraculously, this woman had chosen me to talk to and we spent hours discussing issues concerning beauty, wealth, family, religion, love and,finally, death.

She admitted that she had been homeless for fifteen years and wanted her life to end. As she became ill with cancer and grew closer to death, she expressed her love for me. My final promise to her was to share our story. Although she is gone, I hope that her life lessons will live on forever.

I write as a tribute to this brilliant woman and feel a responsibility to share with the world the enlightening lessons that I learned from her.

Q&A:

1. Why do you write?
I write because I want to keep the past alive. 

2. What does writing mean to you?
Writing is empowerment.

3. What do you write?
Memoirs, postcards, love letters, articles and grocery lists.

4. Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in the elderly and their stories of the past.

5. When did you first fall in love with writing?
When I was in the fourth grade I read Harriet the Spy. From then on I always carried a notebook.

6. How important is your writing space (if you have one)?
Whenever I try to find a nice writing spot I always get distracted. Often, I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and end up jotting things down for a good thirty minutes.

7. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?
My friend reminded me that all writers face rejection. JD Salinger’s dream was to be published in the New Yorker but he was rejected 650 times before being accepted.

8. What’s the first piece of writing advice you’d give someone?
Your life narrative might not be as boring as you think. Write it. There is someone out there who will probably identify.

9. Why should people write?
People should write to change the world.

10. Writing is . . . (start each sentence with ‘writing is’)
Writing is political, evolving and imaginative. Writing is not the same all over the world. Writing is biased. Writing is risky business. Writing can transform people’s thoughts, ideas and lives.

11. I write because . . . (start each sentence with ‘I write because’)
I write because I have a story that must be heard.

12. What is the best thing about writing?
Knowing that your words no longer live only in your mind.

13. Why do you love writing?
I love writing because it allows me to be chaotic, emotional and daring — things that aren’t accepted as much in real life.

I wish Juni the best of luck with this book 🙂
I think it’ll be a great read and I’m eager to learn about what others have written.

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