Why Do I Write?

Why Do I Write?

Why do I write?

Because, you know, I have the right.

Why do I write about women?

Because I can. A Woman is where my self has been living.

Why do I write about mothers?

Because I am a mother and a feminist. And I need to. So there. Because mothering is a top-billing when feminism can feel like it left after the compere.

Why do I write?

Because it satisfies, simultaneously, my need for solitude and conversation.

The solitude of working, when that work is writing; of thinking, when those thoughts demand thinking. The conversation being those dialogues in my head with people long dead or with ideas from a book, spread before me or scattered along with others. Annotated with love, or anger, laughter and interest, especially the ones about mothers.

Why do I write?

Because I must.

Why do I write about women, mothers and politics?

Because reality TV doesn't do it for me, Saturday nights are for reading, for scribbling; the Great British Bake Off makes me want to gorge on cake - ones I could easily make - but I'd rather live my dreams than watch a stranger fulfill theirs; Because I don't enjoy learning about gardening, ancient civilisation, attics stuffed with cash, or antiques brought for valuation.

Why don't I write about fathers?

Because I'd rather leave it to them.

Because the world is already packed with fishing, Top Gear and stuff for and by men; with tales of stay-at-home dad heroes and prime ministers who combine fatherhood with career (a feat inquired into by nobody) with policies carved and laws made by institutions dominated by men. With religion, politics and law, stuffed to the brim, still, with Our Fathers.

Because the male of the species is still able to dictate, to decide, to dominate and to delegate. Don't worry Son, Husband, Brother and Dad, I love you - I don't 'man hate'.

Because pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding are, almost exclusively, when the exception in identity politics does not prove the rule, issues which affect women.

Because women still risk financial disadvantage and future poverty-ed old-age pensionage out of circumstances which failed to see the worth and need in what she did when what she was doing was mothering.

Because the mother-women of this world have rarely had their soapbox, too busy with washing powder boxes and laundry, too devoted in time and energy to their family.

Because I have yet to see the day when libraries are filled with shelves upon shelves labelled 'herstory' and those stories were that of the women, of the mothers, of the children; not the history of the politician, the commander, the soldier or the madmen.

Because a woman's cause need not include the world's.

Because the use of the word 'mother' does not, with justice, exchange to 'parent' or 'father'.

Because the moment a mother, writing about mothers, writing about women, is compelled to deny the word 'mother', the cause for her writing is even stronger.

Because a woman's interests need not defer to another.

Because a father can do what I do, if he wants to. My existence, my words and my voice are not a threat, a prohibition or a diversion. A father, too, can write, in his spare time, in urgent moments snatched between sandwiches and sandpits. Go for it, Dad, go write for the man-person.

Why do I write?

Because a woman must be able to proclaim with a vision: this is my voice. I am going to use it. I am going to ask that you listen.

Why do I write, when I could easily sit? Why do I write, though I happily knit?

Because I love to inhale the books written by women. Women who, like me, for some reason, had to write about women.

Because I must. Because I can.

Why do I write?

Because I have the right.

When the question with its permutations and accusations 'why do you write...' is not asked of me or others, I might decide that I can lay-off it, still being happy amongst the mothers.

Even then, I will probably write between the times I read, knit and mother my children - my loves, my light.

Because although, when I write, I do not claim to speak for everybody, I know that when I speak for myself I speak for somebody.

Before You Go