Good Advice

In the January/February issue of Poets & Writers the award-winning playwright, poet, and essayist, Sarah Ruhl, shares her reasons to keep writing.

“Sometimes I forget why I should keep writing. I hope you make a list of your own. Here is mine:

  • Write for God. The cave. The envelope.
  • Write for your mother. Your father. Your friend who is sick.
  • Write for the future. Write for the past. Write for the present, but sideways.
  • Write for the child who saw cruelty, and for those dispossessed, but sidways.
  • Write for your daughter. Write for your sone. If they don’t exist, write for the dream of them.
  • Write for your uncle to weep, for your aunt to laugh. For your babysitter to cover her face with recognition.
  • Write for the church you walked past with a sign that read: THEATER AT SACRAMENT. And you misread it as: THEATER AS SACRAMENT.
  • Write for the accountants whose eyes are too tired at night for numbers. For the farmers who grow your corn.
  • Write for your teachers. Write for every single hour they left off writing their own sentences so that they could read yours.
  • Write to thank the books you love.
  • Write for yourself.
  • Write for God. The cave. The envelope.

Sarah Ruhl teaches at the Yale School of Drama, and her most recent projects are the memoir Smile (Simon & Schuster, 2021), Love Poems in Quarantine (Copper Canyon, 2022); and a production of Becky Nurse of Salem by Lincoln Center Theater.

The featured photo I took this morning, January 1, 2023. Sunrise.

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