Why I Write: “A Hungry Squirrel in Autumn”

Writing gets me to the truth of things.

I can’t fully speak the truth, like a poor waif from an old fashioned fairytale. In place of the
truth, I will reflexively interject with a wild or friendly laugh or like a porcupine under duress, I
will only shoot out some of my quills, however dramatically and sometimes to great effect, but I
in the end I am unable to tell my whole story, my whole thought.

Worse yet, is the truth I never speak. Like when inside I’m failing, worrying, planning and trying. The words float like clouds in my head, puffs of surety that unshape and fade back from where they came. I lose my words all the time like this. And so too I forget what I meant by them. Being aware of this loss makes me more desperate to write.

When I was younger, I wrote for the pleasure of hearing the sentences sound perfectly in my
head. My stories were like fistfuls of jewels! But they were just images without a sensible
connection so as stories they needed time to grow up, like me. As I got older, when I began to
realize the spell I was under, I studied the craft like it was a map to get there. But what I didn’t
understand was that everyone has a different map and only writing (mostly poorly, if that
makes sense) would help to forge this map.

So why do I write? I guess it’s three things: a noble quest, the best response and the strongest
voice I have. Bonus: It lets me be young and old, a man, woman and a child. It’s lets me convey the earthy thoughts of a hungry squirrel in autumn if that’s what I want to do that day. As writers, we have power and freedom in equal measure. I try to remember this and act this
every time I write.

I think I don’t write because I don’t want to bother with the truth very much sometimes. It’s
hard work and makes change. So it takes time and focus and bravery. Maybe I don’t believe I
have some or all of that? At least not all the time. But I’m willing to challenge this old
marshmallow of an idea.

About Karla Kosowan

Karla is a writer, mother and software designer. She lives by the ocean in Vancouver, BC with her two favorite people. Her piece Why I Write is her first publication, which she wrote while trying to cut her writer's block down to size.

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