National Writing Project

Corey Edward Olds: Why I Write

Date: 2017

Summary: Corey Edward Olds writes to understand his world, and to enter his voice into history in his own words.


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Like Joan Didion, I write to "find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means."

Similar to George Orwell, I write because "there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention." Although my concern, as that of many writers, is to get a hearing, I primarily wish to set the record straight, at least as far as my place in history is concerned. Perhaps I write to enter myself into history on my own terms without depending on anyone and against all those who would distort me beyond self-recognition, if not outright reject the fact or significance of my existence.

As did Michel de Montaigne, I write in an attempt to understand many things, especially myself. Along with reading and thinking, writing in the pursuit of self-knowledge, not merely to earn a living, constitutes my higher purpose far above the fatuous shadow play of the daily hubbub.

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