Why I Write by Heather Donaldson

Why I Write

I write to figure things out.

Taking comfort in the fact that any problem I have

can be fixed with a poem or a story.

This is ridiculous, obviously,

and only works maybe 5% of the time,

but when you rub into as many problems as I do,

you have to start making them productive.


I write to express.

To put the best version of myself

down on paper, before my mind wanders

and my brain short circuits

and I stumble over every simple word

that is perched on my tongue,

every abstract idea that I try to put into words,

leaving them scrambled and useless.


I write daily.

Therapeutic, it offers a brief vacation

from the boredom, the stress, the sadness,

the homesickness I am all too prone to.

7 years’ worth of journals stacked in a box,

tightly containing all my petty teenage issues,

coffee stains, tear stains and the first time I knew

I loved him.

I found my voice on those mismatched pages.


I write poems to understand myself and my world,

I write stories to escape the very same things,

To live in the settings I create

or the memories that I transcribe onto page

I write letters to tell him everything I cannot say

over the phone, my voice imprisoned by the tears I’m holding back,

and send a tiny piece of myself home with them.