Why Do David Baldacci and I Write?

  Posted by M. K. Waller


Why do writers write?  Anyone who’s ever sworn at a blinking cursor has asked herself that question at some point. Or at many, many points. ~ Meredith Maran

In Why We Write, twenty authors answer that question. Below are quotations from six of their essays.


I write because in 1962 I put in my application for a job working at the children’s department at Sears, and they never called me back…. Seriously, I write because it’s all I know how to do. Writing is my anchor and my purpose. My life is informed by writing, whether the work is going well, or I’m stuck in the hell of writer’s block, which I’m happy to report only happens about once a day. ~ Sue Grafton, author of A Is for Alibi through Y Is for Yesterday

I’m really not qualified to do anything else. At this point it’s so much a part of my life that I can’t not do it. If I don’t work I go crazy. And frankly, I have a family, and I need the money. ~ James Frey, author of The Final Testament of the Holy Bible


If writing were illegal, I’d be in prison. I can’t not write. It’s a compulsion. ~David Baldacci, author of The Innocent


The only thing that makes me crazier than writing is not writing. ~ Sarah Gruen, author of Water for Elephants


I write to dream; to connect with other human beings; to record; to clarify; to visit the dead. I have a kind of primitive need to leave a mark on the world. Also, I have a need for money. ~ Mary Karr, author of Lit


I write because I swear to God I don’t know how to do anything else. ~ Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto


This week my cousin Ann found something I wrote when I was about ten years old. It announces the engagement of her cat, Tommy, to Miss Kittie Kay Kat, and marked my entry into the world of journalism a la community goings-on columns in small town newspapers.

Relative legibility is courtesy of Mrs. Bessie Fricke, a marvelous fourth-grade teacher, who gave every student in class (except Bernard and Patricia) a B in handwriting the first six weeks, and spurred me to practice my cursive every day after school so that wouldn’t happen again.

So why do I write? Considering that I did this of my own free will, just for fun, I guess, like Mr. Baldacci, et al., I can’t not write.

And please forgive me, but I can’t not share this.

Note: The date of the wedding, October twelfth, happens to be Ann’s birthday. She’s a year minus twelve days younger than I. Along with her older sister, Sally, we rode bicycles and horses, swam in the river, and renovated an old chicken house–painted the outside white and pasted newspapers on the inside walls–to use as a clubhouse. I don’t remember having many meetings there.

Tommy Barber was an orange tabby. He didn’t have a middle name, but people in engagement announcements always have them, so I gave him one.



Mr. and Mrs. Alley Kat announce the engagement of their daughter, Kitty Kay, to Mr. Tommy Len Barber.

Miss Kat was the Fish Queen of 1960 and served as Duchess in the Trout Sellers’ Festival in 1961. Kitty Kay attended Kittie Kapers Elementary School and graduated from Catwell’s Girls’ High School. She attended the Feline Women’s College where she majored in English. Then she entered Katley Acting School, where she starred in “The Rat Trap.” Kitty Kay graduated from Cat Carson’s Finishing School in May of 1963. She is now employed as a secretary at Fishington Fish Markets, Inc.

Tommy Len Barber attended Cat Carver Elementary and later Kitolene High School. He entered Carvard University and was then employed at Cape Catnaperal . He is presently employed as a detective with the Fentress Cat Patrol for the Extermination of Rats and Mice.

The wedding will be held at the First Methodist Church in Fentress at eight o’clock in the evening on October the twelfth. The reception will be held in the church parlor.



Meredith Maran, ed. Why We Write: Twenty Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do. New York: Plume, 2013.


I’ve published short stories, the latest in Austin Mystery WritersLone Star Lawless, and blog at Telling the Truth, Mainly. I write as M. K. Waller and as Kathy Waller.


6 thoughts on “Why Do David Baldacci and I Write?

  1. Kathy, this reminded me of when I was in the sixth grade and my English class studied journalism and put out a school newspaper. It never occurred to us to write marriage announcements for our pets, but that would have been a lot more interesting than the mundane articles we wrote about what the other classes were doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cute, Kathy. Had you submitted an application to any of the newspapers I worked for back in the day, I would have hired you to write the wedding, engagement and obit notices. In time, I’m sure you could have worked your way up and become one of our neighborhood columnists and covered the vacations and reunions. 🙂


    1. Thanks, Mike. I take that as high praise, coming from you. The key, of course, lies in reading. My miniscule hometown was surrounded by four miniscule cities, each with a newspaper that ran weekly columns from the zillion little towns in the surrounding rural area. Engagements and weddings got their own articles. I read every word, even though I rarely knew anyone outside of my own territory. Mostly they went something like, “Mr. and Mrs. Q were visited by her sister, Miss R, over the weekend, and all attended the Presbyterian Church before having dinner at the Methodist Church, where they saw all the same people who had attended the Presbyterian service, and ate Presbyterian fried chicken and Methodist green beans.” (I imagine editors were grateful for social events, because not much else happened around there.) (You’ve reminded me of a vacation I could write about that involved a pumpkin and a sifter, but it was true and both funny and sad.)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. How unique and humorous. Loved your story. I used to clip out articles and fill in more of the story because I have always loved to write, although nursing was my first love always from when I can first remember. But now I can concentrate on getting those stories out of my head. I do believe writing is a compulsion. I too grew up with the small town newspapers with gossip columns full of “Sally attended church Sunday morning then had lunch with the Wilson’s where she visited with their daughter Mary who was home from college…..etc..” Don’t you love how people connected back then? I believe part of the issues we now have are the disconnect between people. We laughed about the gossip columns but I think they had their place.

    Liked by 1 person

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