Why I Write

daniel adlerLast night in Bushwick as I watched couples at witching hour Chris was all pissy because I wouldn’t have a drink with him. I was already drunk, pleasurably slurring. And he turned to me and started talking about how painting gives him freedom, like 1 mm of freedom, and how that 1 mm is enough. And in a drunken attempt to relate I said I write because I want to be remembered. He got all pedagogical, “Be careful thinking like that. That’ll hold you back.” And then some drunken girl who cried at my birthday party last year because her boyfriend was leaving her came over and started talking to Chris. I was done.

But what I really meant was that I write because I have to. It is a pull in my veins. To leave something for humanity, a record of our time through mine own eyes. I write because I am in a tradition of men, thousands of years old, who have lived. And I am living like them and I have to write about it. I am a recordkeeper. Classic literature is the record. And to be the best recordkeeper I have to practice and write and know as much as I can. Then future children will read my records. They will enjoy the simplicity and the exuberant voice behind it, who even when writing about flies winding through the apartment, or the breeze on the ocean, lives and lives drunkenly.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.


  1. I think all artists have at least a little of that tinge of egotism. I fully admit that there is a part of me that is irresistibly drawn to architecture because I want to leave my mark on the world. Even if no one ever knows who the person is behind the placement of that capital, or this pediment, everyone who sees it will be a witness to my art and of my time. All art is a record of its time and I often think the best are those that capture it poignantly.

  2. I’m telling you man, there is so much shit out there that I can’t stand. So much. Painting is the ONLY way I can grab my reality and take control of the energy and the things that go into me, at me and on me.
    I’m not sure if theres more beauty or ugliness in the world.

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