Why Do We Write?

“Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.” -Percy Bysshe Shelley

If you had asked me a year ago if I wanted to write poetry, I would have said no.

Why?  What am I doing with the Binghamton Poetry Project if I didn’t want to write poems?

You see, I never did any creative work in my English classes in high school.  In other words, I didn’t know I could write poetry.  Sure, I attempted a few poems here and there, but I was never happy with them.

Everything changed in college.  I took a creative writing course.  I learned how to turn language into something greater, and I fell in love with writing.

Am I happy?  Sure.  Am I satisfied?  Not quite, and I don’t know if I ever will be.

I remember going back to a story I wrote in middle school (yes, middle school, when I was obsessed with young adult romance novels).  When I was fourteen, it was great, and I felt really accomplished with myself.  Now?  Not so much.

It’s the same with my recent work.  I’ll like it at the time, but I’ll go back to it months later and wonder why I was so proud of it before.

So why do I do it?  Why do I write if I’ll never fully be proud of something?

Because that’s how I improve.  I know that if I don’t like a piece that I wrote before, it’s because I’m getting better.  That’s where I find satisfaction.  That’s where I’m most proud of myself.  Knowing that I’m improving pushes me to write more.

That, to me, is the beauty of writing.

-Michelle Li
Fall 2014 Undergraduate Intern


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