Why I Write

Why I Write – Kay Castaneda

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A little later in the day than usual (sorry – it’s been a busy one!), I’m delighted to welcome Kay Castaneda to my blog to talk about her fascinating and inspiring writing motivations. Kay is a new discovery for me, but I can’t wait to get stuck in to her books!

Why I Write

I’ve loved holding a pencil in my hand since I was young. Learning to write in grade school was so much fun that I didn’t want to sit through the other subjects, especially math. Why count numbers when you can write words? My writing experience includes poems, short stories, and encyclopedia articles about education, sociology and psychology. Writing about faith and religion is important to me. I find inspiration in news and contemporary issues.

One of the main reasons that I write is because I love to tell stories. I sometimes have trouble speaking if I’m anxious. I can begin a story but then my mind often pauses or even goes blank and that is not a great feeling. Mostly people are nice but it’s embarrassing for me. By writing a story on paper, I can publish it on my blog or enter a contest. That way I have control.

My mom used to tell stories about her relatives and about growing up in Tennessee in the 1930s. I have a good memory so it was easy to write them down and save in my computer. I have written some stories and essays about Mom. She is also featured in my novel Emmie. I joined Ancestry and I found information that I will use to write fiction later. My plans are also to write a family history with stories about each person.

I mentioned that I have trouble speaking at times. I have epilepsy but it is for the most part controlled with medication. I have several types of seizures. One kind of seizure I have is absence seizures. They are usually mild and many times, I don’t even notice them. My family knows what’s happening. A person I just met would probably notice I stop talking and look confused. It’s hard to get back on track with the subject especially telling a story! My medicine has contributed to some mild cognitive decline that affects my speech and some language processing. Of course, age doesn’t help. Writing allows me to take as much time as needed to complete a story or even a brief email. The computer does not see me and my blank stare.

Writing is physical in addition to being creative, which is an abstract thing. Writing involves using the brain’s muscles, nerves and other parts of the brain. My neurologist calls writing “brain exercise’. There are other types of activities that provide that exercise such as art, music and other creative activities. But it seems that writing is best for my unique condition. Here is a brief explanation of Epilepsy from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The brain consists of nerve cells that communicate with each other through electrical activity. A seizure occurs when one or more parts of the brain has a burst of abnormal electrical signals that interrupt normal brain signals.”

Writing keeps the nerve cells communicating with one another to make the electrical system keep working. The brain then sends those signals to the hands transferring words in the mind into words on the page. I write articles about health, ageing, mental illness and how writing is therapy and exercise for the brain. Maybe someday I can write a book about writing.

Thanks for allowing me to tell you about why I love writing. I wrote an article about cursive writing and how it works to increase brain cells, which in turn has the ability to increase a person’s intelligence. Cursive is handwriting the old-fashioned way for any young people out there!


About the Author:

Kay Castaneda is retired from a career as a college writing instructor and special education tutor. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in English at Indiana University. Her publications include poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction in literary journals plus articles about education for reference books. She published a novel based on her experiences growing up in the Midwest, Emmie of Indianapolis. Kay also contributed two stories to Death Among Us: An Anthology of Murder Mystery Short Stories which was published 2019. She is currently researching the history of Ireland for a novel based on her ancestors. Her work in progress is a mystery novel with an amateur female sleuth. She loves to eat at Mom and Pop diners and browse in antique stores and flea markets. Kay lives in Mexico with her husband Tony and dog Buddy.

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