I went to see the fiction writer, Zadie Smith when she was in town a few weeks ago. This was an entirely pleasant experience.

She was brought in as part of the Babel series that Just Buffalo puts on. I was so excited to see her, as she is one of my top five fiction writers.


In ten words here is the experience:

she walked out:
yellow dress red headdress
smart is gorgeous.

She gave a lecture that answered the question, “why write?”

The talk was a well-constructed argument for writing and perhaps for being a successful published author.

When I went to the talk, Just Buffalo gives out these index cards and with the directions, “write a question.” I wrote my down, “How do you deal with the success of being a fiction writer?”

I never handed in though. I’m not entirely sure why I never handed it, but I guess I just got caught up listening to this brilliant, strong, woman.—how do you live a normal life but still get to publish and give talks on your writing?

She answered it for me in the quiet tap of her foot when she was giving the talk. Maybe her shoes hurt, or maybe it was a twitch from nerves—but somehow, this wonderfully articulate, funny, writer—this woman not so far from my age—this woman, this person—spoke to me from the stage—she writes because that’s what she loves to do.

Now, I am on the other side. I’m writing to you, reader. And, I want to ask a different question—”Why teach?”

I answer this by telling you that I am a writing mentor three days a week at Niagara County Community College. I love this job. I get to tutor students. I get to teach and to write at the same time.

Mostly, I help students who are writing essays. I explain that they need to have a good introduction with a smart and savvy thesis and then supporting paragraphs and then a conclusion.

I spend a considerable part of my day drawing the same example (and inverted triangle as a symbol of a well-thought argument).

So, why do this?
I leave this, to you.