National Writing Project

Why I Write: Gaetan Pappalardo Writes for the Sake of Writing

Publication: EduTopia
Date: November 22, 2011

Summary: Gaetan Pappalardo, a teacher-consultant at the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project, shares why he is compelled to write despite its difficulties.


Writing compresses my thoughts
Some escaping my grasp Like a
Slippery eel some trapped
Manipulated dissected prodded
Then set free on a tether only
To be yanked back, restrained again

Writing shatters the chains
Of the jailers of creativity
Follow one rule, break all rules
Speed, steal, dive below morality
Test ethical boundaries

Writing brings back childhood
Smells, sights, pain, pleasure
The comfort of a plastic toy
The excitement of the basement

Writing persuades
The tightest bolt to loosen
The rust cracking and crumbling
Like flakes of baked wheat

Writing sometimes occurs
So effortlessly that the words
Connect like a pre-made puzzle
And, most of the time, writing
Is as difficult as trying to slide
A slimy oyster into a slot machine

I write for nonreaders
I write for the oppressed
I write what I want to read
I write to think
I write to discover
I write for the sake of writing

I write because I must
There's really no choice

About the Author

Gaetan Pappalardo grew up on KISS, street hockey, and Transformers. He teaches third grade in West Deptford, N.J. and is a fellow of the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project. Gaetan provides professional development for teachers on how to inspire young writers to find their own voice and is a site coordinator/teacher for Young Readers/Young Writers: a summer youth enrichment camp presented by West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

Reprinted with permission from Edutopia .

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