Why I Write

by Arthur Klepchukov

The following is my winning entry to the Kevin Smokler Scholarship for the 2016 San Francisco Writers Conference (SFWC). The conference began yesterday and I’ve already gleaned a lot from a first day of connecting with insightful writers, editors, and agents! A huge thanks to Kevin Smokler for sponsoring the scholarship and SFWC’s Barbara Santos for sharing the great news.


Rebecca Solnit described writing as a conversation across time with someone you haven’t met yet. Isn’t that the ultimate saving grace of a creative ego? Even if you’re dead and forgotten, you’ll survive in the words some reader may find and empathize with one tomorrow. But there is a more immediate magic to writing than an immortality fantasy. Exhaling ideas to release them from that inspired nest inside makes life complete. This life, the one where I’m still here, breathing, hurting, dreaming.

Spoken discussions are gratifying but fleeting; the experience wanes when the sound does. Music, the shadow current behind much of my life and words, is more emotion than fidelity. And as a life-long fan of sketching, I’ve always wished the visual arts left more to the imagination.

We spend our lives trying to find our way, to survive, to learn, to love, to create. We look for fragments of the world beyond us that complement the one inside us. The written word is the closest reflection to how I feel and aim to live—a serif elegance unlocking daring potential. My breaths are between the sound of pencil meeting paper, the blue tattoo of ink on cramping hands, the press of keyboard characters engraving souls, the scent of a rediscovered book, the promises of every blank page.