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  • In a four-word story, Daniel Warren asked us to describe why we write stories. I can't give a cogent reply in so many words, but it's a great question that's well worth our time to respond to.

    If I ever thought about it, the question for me was "Why not write?"

    It took me decades ask that of myself. For a long time I was an academic researcher who wrote and edited scientific papers. Then, in the 90s I started poking at politics without any outlet for my opinions beyond immediate friends. Next I started a semibiographical novel to ease the pain of my life situation. When I discovered I could vent in more than one way, it made me happy, despite having next to no audience. It was homework I felt I needed to do.

    Like most of us here, at some point I realized I had things to say that others might be interested in. But a the time, I had no venues to publish anything, but about a dozen years back, a story I submitted on a whim to a countercultural anthology project was accepted and that made my day.

    To return to Daniel's question, there's no single reason why I write. Sometimes it's to pass on some interesting facts that I might also try to interpret. Sometimes it's to bring attention to things going on that don't get enough exposure in the media, with or without a sense of outrage. Sometimes it's to let people into my life by emitting a memoir. Or it could just be a story I concoct out of thin or thick air.

    I do all of the above on cowbird, and each mode seems to be equally well received, with the occasional meh. And when someone writes something that stimulates or moves me, I sometimes reply in kind with a story. I love it when chains of stories flower.

    I think Cowbird is best when stories dialog, and I like reading stories that come in chapters. I try to keep mine brief, but rarely succeed. Working with cowbird authors, I aspire to become a better communicator regardless of form or subject, and to do that I lean on and learn from my audience and my exemplars.

    So thank you Cowbird, Cowbird writers, and Daniel for asking.

    PS - See, this hadn't been published more than five minutes before I felt compelled to edit it!
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