STEPHEN ELLIOTT: writing doesn’t make sense unless it’s about something else

When I’m at my best I don’t know where I’m going. Writing is an exploration and I’m a detective, a treasure hunter searching for clues. I still write to communicate, which as I get older is less about screaming and more about connecting (though it’s about screaming, too). More than anything, writing is what I want to do with my time.

There are other great reasons to write. To tell a story, to be heard, to create art, to participate, to add to the general discussion, to make a political point, to make the world a richer place. As in most pursuits, remembering why you came to it is as important as being ready to change.


This is an excerpt from Stephen Elliott‘s essay “Why I Write,” first published in Canteen‘s fourth issue. You can read the entire essay—and you should—here. You don’t have to read it now. But you’ll probably want to come back to it again. I think I’ve read it 5 or 6 times now. Why I write? So I don’t have to keep having the same revelations—I can flip straight to them and get on with it. For me, this is one of those essays.