‘Why I Write’ by Caleb Smith


“I write because it fulfills me. I do it for the pure joy of the thing and if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.” —-Stephen King 

It’s as simple as that. I write for the joy, the release, the therapy and, most of all, the connection. The connection to me is a divine mystery, hard to explain and best attained through continued experience. For the uncovering of a story that already exists, they all, in fact, exist before we find them. In fiction, that is. They exist somewhere between here and there, perhaps in a parallel world of their own making. A writer holds the key to unlock and extract a story from that other place with a magnet mind, pulling it in, refining it down through their soul until released from fingertips, a raw little puzzle piece. The writer leans back and admires the fragment they just processed and then extracts another. Then another and another like a bottomless Pez dispenser popping out sweet candy pellets. After so many pieces produced, the border of a puzzle takes shape, leaving an empty body within. Since we’ve come this far, we must see this puzzle through, so we go back to pulling pieces out of the air from another place, collecting them one by one. It’s the guts we’re after now, the nitty gritty pieces that are quadruple sided and must fit flawlessly up and down, left to right. These are the pieces we must chisel and cut to perfection in order to fit flush and uniform with all the other connecting pieces. Each piece is a portion of a greater image slowly taking shape and it only takes one faulty piece to leave a hole in the greater puzzle picture. It’s patient, tedious work to get all the pieces to fit air tight, let alone sanded, painted and polished to perfection. But when it’s complete, a constant feast blesses our eyes, softens the heart and propels a clairvoyance within. Its eternal magic unfolds, proving more to this world than a running clock of mediocrity. Reading and writing take us away to that place we all long to be, that timeless place neither here nor there, only found in the moment, precisely connected.   

Growing up in the 80s/90’s in Bangor Maine was interesting. It certainly had its perks. Like Trick or Treating, at Stephen King’s house. Or playing down by the Kenduskeag Steam, where the sewers drain to find traces of Pennywise. Or mowing the grass at Mt. Hope Cemetery and spotting the ghost of Gage Creed. Or working the tarmac at the Bangor International Airport and witnessing the Langoliers poking through the air space from another dimension. The List of strange occurrences went on over the years but I think it was the summer of 2001, when a couple buddies and I started a painting company. One of our first jobs was on West Broadway. This particular job was three houses up the street from the King’s compound. I remember being two stories up on the staging and it was a hot day in Mid-July. While covered in sweat and paint chips, he drove by in a convertible, red if I remember correctly. The three of us watched as he drove by, looking our way. At that moment, time slowed down for me and I remember thinking to myself, “Someday I’m gonna tell stories like that guy!”      

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