Friday, July 1, 2011

Kevin J. Mackey's Week - Guest Post: Why I Write

Understand why the fuss, HERE.
Picture credits on this post.
I have another special knight-post for you. Kevin didn't want a story written about him or a character of his. Instead, he preferred to talk to you directly, which is great! 

Please welcome Kevin J. Mackey and read his reasons of why he writes. Also, if you want to learn more about him, you can read his interview here, and later this week there'll be a review of his book


I listened to the world's oldest surviving story, Gilgamesh, on the first iPod I bought. I attended a performance of the oldest complete play in the Western canon, The Persians by Aeschylus, at a theater in Berkeley.
These stories, dating from millennia ago, are still alive today, still speak to us today. Parables, plays, allegory, action rendered in narrative. The ways we humans try to explain who we are, why we do what we do and what is the meaning of what happens to us. 
The storyteller, the "old talker" in my native language — gaelic, the holder and recounter of the tribe's history, is a central figure. And has held this central position from the earliest times in human societies.
Stories remain central to societies today. Lines, blocks long, awaiting the latest Harry Potter or Twilight installment attest to this. We watch morality plays on television, or in movie theaters, couched in the guise of science-fiction, westerns or romantic comedies. Entertainment, yes. But, at the heart of it is the use of story to communicate, to explain, to connect.
Humans view the world, and who we are, through the prism of language, symbol, story.
My siblings, in their working lives, feed the hungry, nurse the sick, build shelter for others. My own working life has been spent tending the machines that run much of our world. Not without value, certainly. But for me — insufficient.
I write to uncover, to connect, to delight. To immerse myself in the swirl of language, of symbol, of striving to understand who we are. That striving that began long before Gilgamesh and will continue long after I am no more.
I write, because storytelling matters.


Kevin J Mackey is native Irish but now lives in the far drier climate of the San Francisco Bay Area. He reads widely - "whatever may be found between book covers" - but has a particular fondness for science fiction and poetry. He has had both flash and short fiction published in 2010 and 2011.

He also published "Haiku - Through a Lens", a collection of haiku and photographs on the themes of Light, Darkness, Travel and Seasons. He says he "follows in his father's ink-splotches".


  1. Have to so agree with this: Humans view the world, and who we are, through the prism of language, symbol, story.

  2. Bravo! You delivered your words with the elegance of an actor on stage - beautiful, poignant, heartfelt - a richness not often seen in a chat.
    I feel strangely compelled to throw roses at you now.

  3. Ha! I'll accept the roses, Laura, with great flourish and a bow.

    Sonia, thank your the validation. It's a strongly held belief I have.

    Mari, thank you for the platform you provide for my words. Greatly appreciated!

  4. Here Laura -- I brought a fresh supply -- "Huzza Huzza!" and more long stemmed red beauties get tossed at the primal places stories well up from Mr Mackey. Indeed, Sonia picked the prismatic line I loved, but the entire 'reckoning' speaks seamlessly the gift of mastering language to share and expound why stories resonate . . . and Kevin's Gaelic charms us to the places *magic* goes to dance.

    "Huzza Huzza -- whoops - watch those thorns by any other name ... Oh, real nice intro Mari and I like your black beaded dress!

    ~ Absolutely*Kate

  5. Super post. In the end, what will our ancestors remember about us but the stories? And through story, I might add. Yes, I can see you pacing the stage -- encore! Peace...

  6. Beautifully expressed piece about why you write Kevin. This one sentence stands alone for me "I write, because storytelling matters." and I think expresses the essence of why we write.

  7. Suckered me in with admiration for the epics. Gilgamesh is one of our oldest full stories and quite the inspiration in many ways.

  8. Thanks everyone for the lovely words! I agree with Lori, who commented on Facebook that storytelling is a human need. I love Kevin's imagery of how entertainment has meaning in its depths.

    @Kevin: Your words will always have a home here at randomities. :)

  9. @*Kate: * swirls around* Thanks! :D

  10. Thanks all for the wonderful comments, and many thanks to you, Mari. I appreciate the showcase.

  11. This brought tears to my eyes, so beautifully put, Kevin.


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