Stevan relayed a story about the difference between poets and prose writers (inspired by a poem from Melanie about bats). Here's the short version:
A woman came into a group of poets and prose writers and said, "I just saw some bats at my house."
The poets said, "What did they look like?"
The prose writers said, "What happened?"
It provoked conversation. What's the difference? Does use of language determine form? What if prose engages poetic language? Does it matter? Why write at all?
Author Jeremy Adam Smith says that writing offers a different way to work through problems, a persuasive perspective, or a larger connection. Or maybe writers just like to read.
A poet near and dear to me says he writes to give voice to those feelings for which there are no single words. Poetry allows him the room to touch those deepest emotions. It is personal for him and needs only a private audience.
Raymond Carver said writers write to save lives (looking for the reference - I think it is from his introduction to Best American Short Stories).
Quantum mechanics proposes that perception is integral to the existence of the universe. (Read The Biocentric Universe in this month's Discover magazine). In a quantum nutshell: we observe so the universe exists.
Do the observations of our world in all our most human moments serve to do more than just record us?
A western tanager outside the kitchen window.
A fishhook in a drunken man's lip.
A spilled bottle of screws on a widower's workbench.
Carver also wrote that the life we save is our own.