This ques­tion was posed to a small group of eight of us at a col­lege tuto­r­i­al. The tutor had been teach­ing at the col­lege for many years and must have remained so clois­tered in her aca­d­e­m­ic world that she didn’t know what was going on in the ‘big wide world’ outside!

At 23 and hav­ing been out in the world work­ing in Lon­don for a few years before even enter­tain­ing the idea of fur­ther edu­ca­tion, I raised my hand to state my opinion!

My answer was “We read for plea­sure”. “Fair enough” most of you will say. But my tutor said “No, we don’t”!!

I was aston­ished – why had I been read­ing all these years?

The tutor felt we should read only to learn! 

Of course she hadn’t yet heard of the Har­ry Pot­ter series and if she’s alive would prob­a­bly poo-poo their val­ue to every­one who reads those books so avidly.

The advent of ‘Harry Pot­ter” has encour­aged more chil­dren and adults to start read­ing than any of us could have imag­ined. In read­ing for plea­sure and for the adven­ture, read­ing has become an impor­tant facet of their lives which oth­er­wise might not have been triggered.

Any desire to read I may have had cer­tain­ly wasn’t trig­gered or rein­forced by my tutor. In fact what she trig­gered in me was a deter­mi­na­tion nev­er to attend her tuto­ri­als again!! I don’t even remem­ber her name!

I wasn’t an avid read­er then but have become so over the years. More non-fic­tion than fic­tion – might she approve? I am often ‘reading to learn’ but it isn’t the be all and end all of my read­ing experiences.

This whole sub­ject start­ed me on “Why do we write?”

I write to express my ideas and the­o­ries on child devel­op­ment and devel­op­men­tal delays. Many of my thoughts are so polit­i­cal­ly incor­rect that there are very few peo­ple who can fol­low my rea­son­ing ver­bal­ly – fur­ther­more my ideas don’t come out of my mouth as coherently!

I write about my life his­to­ry and mem­o­ries and my family’s history. 

I write let­ters of com­plaint or query to var­i­ous gov­ern­ment enti­ties, throw­ing in some praise for good mea­sure and in most cas­es I receive civ­i­lized respons­es and a sat­is­fac­to­ry con­clu­sion to my complaint. 

So you might say my writ­ing is ‘persuasive’.

I’ve writ­ten many, many beg­ging let­ters to doc­tors ask­ing them to for­give med­ical bills and they have been very kind enough to have done so – ‘persuasive’ again?

I enjoy writ­ing newsy let­ters to friends and some of them say they like hear­ing from me! I have long-stand­ing pen friends all over the world. Even exchang­ing post­cards seems to give many of us a deal of pleasure.

I haven’t attempt­ed fic­tion, although I very much enjoy hear­ing fic­tion authors talk about their process of writing.

Occa­sion­al­ly I write to ram­ble on and com­plain about this and that in my life and in those instances the words remain in my com­put­er! Com­plain­ing about one’s life sel­dom reaps any rewards so I lim­it myself to com­plain­ing about things that mat­ter to my fam­i­ly and me in the real world. Fight­ing, if you will, for what’s right.

Why do I write? I write because I love to write. It’s what I do every morn­ing when I wake up, in the ear­ly after­noon (like now) when inspi­ra­tion hits and some­times in the evening reflect­ing on what’s hap­pened dur­ing the day.

I try and write and spell in ‘Eng­lish-Eng­lish’ on this blog, just on prin­ci­ple and because I can! 

But I some­times think that read­ing both ‘Eng­lish-Eng­lish’ and ‘Amer­i­can-Eng­lish’ books one might end up with ‘Mid-Atlantic-Eng­lish’; nei­ther one thing nor the other!

I’m a writer. I’m a read­er. I do both for pleasure.