In a creative writing course, the instructor told us that you know you are a writer when you have to write. And then droned on about some “white hot burning.”
I have learned, that when I do not write, my mind becomes a dank cellar with rotting vegetables on its shelves.
In a poetry course, we defined poetry and it defined me.
My professor pulled me aside after class, and told me I needed to pursue this thing inside me. I told him that poetry was my passion, and that others had tried to talk me out of seeking a PhD. He said fuck ‘em.
In a literature course, we read a lot, and assigned our meanings through historical and biographical evidence bound in the texts.
I found that critical theory breathes new life into old texts, and that to write well is to transcend time and space; a chance to be more than earthly.
I write, because all of these things have helped me define who I am, and my position in this world.
I write, because one day my therapist asked me to write a letter to my mother and bring it to her to share. When I finished, she was less concerned with my relationship with my mother, and laid out only her evidence that writing was my gift.
I write because I want to know more about the nature of things. Sometimes, these things are people, or trees, or experiences that I have had and even the ones which I have denied myself the opportunity to have. I have an obsession with the aesthetic of the neat.
I don’t write to create a different reality. I write, to better understand my own.
I write because I know that there are always layers beyond the surface which are much more intimate and telling than anything we typically share, even with our most intimate friends.
I write because I am full of questions; like what the fuck is wrong with me? How do forests thrive for years untouched, but every potted plant I have ever had, withers under my care and love?
I write because when I read a book or poem, I am not concerned so much with what the book means to me, or how it makes me feel, but I want to know what the writer was thinking when they wrote it. What inspired them to write this story? What trauma were they working through?
I write, because there will always be someone to feel as misunderstood as I have felt. I write to understand my Self, my motives, my pain, my happiness.
I write to find the answers to all of my questions.
Writing to me, is a selfish act. I made the mistake of telling someone that I wrote on that day, about them. What I had meant, was that I had written about an experience I had had, and I wanted them to know that it was important that they were there, too. But, when their response was, I am happy to be the reason you write, I knew that they grossly misunderstood who I was and what my purpose was becoming. I write for myself asshole. And he could never take that away from me, although I had stopped writing for a while after for fear of being misunderstood by more than just him.
I write, because literature has taught me more about myself than anything else I have experienced.
I write, because when I read, I am transformed if only slightly; and when I write I am formed, if only slightly.
I write, because in writing I find my lifeline and my breath.
But most people never know what the pages of my journal or all the Word documents that I hide really have to reveal about me. I have long said that I am an open book. When most people meet me, they do not know how to interpret what lies in between my covers.
I write more than most will ever know. Because in my fear, I hide it all. I do not want people to know who I am or where I ache. Because that would make me more human than I am ready to be.