“The heart’s immortal thirst to be completely known and all forgiven.” —H. Van Dyke

I write because of my heart’s immortal thirst, its bottomless thirst. I write because what I’m really trying to do is reach my fingertips out to you and let the most honest part of me find the most honest part of you through a contact deeper than touch. Through words, of all things, useless words in which I’m placing far too much hope. Through words and the little secret spaces between the words. I write because seeing someone in sadness or in joy, in awkward and dawning self-awareness, in their softest humanity is the most beautiful spectatorship of all. I see it and rejoice. I feel it and must tell you.

There’s the "why." The "how" turns out to be more fraught. Like my incurable resistance to fiction. Something about the novel, made up and made pretty, turns me off. To think that my precious time analyzing the mess of human life to dig up insights like some feverish archaeologist may be wasted on the stories drafted from the imagination of some foolish human (and we are, all of us, fools) is a prospect I can’t stomach.

So I then proceed to do a thing even sillier than dismissing all fiction, and that is to turn to nonfiction—to memoir—as a supposedly richer source to mine for the truth of what it means to be living. And I drink in the words and I delude myself into a rapture and I sigh and I think, "I want to do that."