Why We Write

9301874154_2571798618_zWhat is it about words that so moves those of us who are writers? We take the most common of media—language—and can’t resist caressing it, playing with it, taking it apart and putting it together again in some new shape.

Why do I love to write, even need to write? I’ve been pondering this question for decades, in various ways, various words.

Today I’ll start the pondering with some personal history: how I discovered my passion for words.

I was in my early twenties and had just started graduate school in literature—which I chose just because I knew I loved reading. But I’d barely started grad school when my husband got a year’s job in London. So we moved there, and suddenly I had my days free while he went to work. One day I went to the University of London to ask about taking some literature courses there.

Strolling through the University campus, I noticed the library and walked into it—and instantly I felt an excited, giddy sensation. It actually affected my whole body: my heart beat faster, I felt tingly all over, with a rush of energy—as if I’d just gobbled my entire stash of Halloween candies. [Read more…]

Going Home by a Different Way: The Image Fall Appeal

Guest post by Stuart Scadron-Wattles

Troubadour.

The word conjures up for me an image of a medieval minstrel, someone pale and languid for love, lute in hand.

But in his recent post on Image’s 25th anniversary, Greg Wolfe cites Ezra Pound’s use of the word, evoking a more active vision—and one closer to the etymology: a troubadour is someone who finds something.

Or perhaps discovers it.

When I first began working at Image, I began asking people how they encountered us. With rare exceptions, it was by human agency. The poet Betsy Sholl, for example, answered my question by recounting a visit to her sister’s house, where her brother-in-law left a copy of Image Journal next to her bed.

“I had no idea such a thing existed,” she recalled. She read through the night and at her host’s urging, took that copy with her.

After the initial discovery, however, comes the recognition that this new thing ought to exist. It both awakens a thirst and slakes it. It leaves one both satisfied and disturbed.

And twenty-five years ago, the journal was just the beginning.

[Read more…]