Why write?

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    Where it all starts

    It all begins with the notebooks, the compulsion to write under any circumstance.

    Staying at a friend’s cabin during the transition from Ithaca life to Martha’s Vineyard, I collected all the candles I could find and turned up the kerosene lamp to have just enough light to illuminate a page. I think the urge to narrate one’s life is common to all human beings. It begins in children as they explain the world to themselves by adopting personas and rules of reality. Our narration of the world and how we go along in it can become pathological when it shoulders out reality — like Walter Mitty, or like 9/11, when Robert Stone commented that we live and die by mythical narratives. It can be transcendent, like the “game” in Roberto Benigni’s “Life is Beautiful.” It can be expressed by a quest for truth, or by a quest for that which is “more true than real.”

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