Once upon a time I said I wanted to be a writer. I don't remember when that was. I was young, very young, and I'm sure everyone grinned, nodded, patted the top of my head and sent me on my way.
But writing is lonely work and is quiet and uneventful to the outside world. You are writhing in agony over characters and plot twists, over deaths and horrors as yet unleashed on the world but to the rest of humanity you're just another kid sitting at a desk scribbling nonsense on a blank piece of paper with little, blue lines.
So I discovered other talents that were flashier and loud and I let myself get Pied Pipered away with the "What ifs?" of it all. And I flew a bit on unstable wings using the wind from someone else's storm. Down I came and landed; I wobbled on scrawny legs, unsure of the rocky coast line. I wandered and wondered and up I came and found that writing was still there.
The paper still had little blue lines.
I began to fill them and thought, "Perhaps this was the path all along?" but again things shifted and I wanted something else. I needed people to hear me, to see me, to care. And I wrote but not with passion; I carved wounds in paper and squeezed them until they bled. Now they'll notice. Now they'll see just what it is I can do.
The words got all jumbled and I raged and blew and the words fluttered around me, detritus of war. I kicked and shoved and got them out of the way and I found myself back to the wasteland and everything was at last peace and good.
It was then I saw the new growth and the seedlings as they started to rise and in came the rain and I was washed away and had to regain new footing and here I stand on solid ground for the first time in years, words circling my bare toes, clinging to the rocks and slowly shuffling up the sand. I gather them in baskets woven from reeds and willows that grow along the lane. They sit on my counters, on shelves and couches and I let them rise like stars to tell me each what they long to say.
Writing isn't linear and it isn't simple. It's messy and complex and if anyone tells you otherwise they probably have never written their soul onto screen just to have it deleted, back up forgotten. Writing is lonely but there's such a strong community of others that we aren't ever really alone. It isn't flashy and there's little pomp and circumstance until - unless - you make it into that pantheon of household names that non-readers even know and mention. But it is a calling and one not lightly thrown aside. It's something that bubbles up inside you and you tell yourself, "I'm not a writer" and promptly go and write about not being a writer. It's what happens when you finally set aside sacred time and count your typing holy. It's what happens when you decide that it doesn't matter if one dot or one pronoun is published you will write anyway, every day, just to see the stories you dream become flesh on page.
This year is an infant and I'm drowning in renaissance. I'm enjoying finding my footing and relearning what it really means to write. One line, one story, one image at a time.
Find your footing, Dear Reader, and let it anchor you to the shore of your stories. And then write with all your might until you find that Once Upon and Time and let it take you from there.
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