Found a rant in my drafts. Thought it would be appropriate since my blog’s been a little quiet lately.
I call myself a writer. But in privacy. I call myself a writer but I am afraid to say it out loud. I want to give an elaborate explanation to the world that the act of arranging words into sentences – often ambiguous, seldom meaningful – is a craft. I am a writer and saying that should be simple. It’s not something I get paid for. It’s not something I’m forced to do. It’s not a full time job. It’s not a part of some religion. It’s nothing but who I am. I write, therefore I am, right?
I find that all of my writing is ingrained in a deep sense of grief, inexplicable and a continuous sorrowful feeling, tragedy and insurmountable sadness. I don’t know how to be any other way. Having had my share of depression, having had my troubles with leaving my room for days, having had all of those things you don’t talk about once they’re in the past. I still feel like sorrow lingers long after the reasons for it are reconciled with. It lurks in the corners of the smile you fake when you get asked if you’re doing okay on a completely disorienting day. It scrambles and settles inside the pockets of a jacket you wore too much but couldn’t get rid of. It reappears in the late hours of a party when you’re too tired to keep up with people and all you wish for is to leave, to have simply not been there to begin with. But that’s something for everyone every once in a while and that doesn’t make me a writer.
The stories I love most and even the books I cherish to an obsessive level are all rooted in layers of tragedy and loss. I feel like grief is so goddamn beautiful and to find words fit to describe it is an art that few possess. But for some reason, every person between 20-35 years of age in the 21st century who has access to a keyboard and knows how to type is a writer. Being a writer is the simplest thing in the world from what I’m seeing. Nothing says it better than the words “Writer” in your Instagram bio. Followed by a link to your Tumblr. Tell me it gets any easier than that and I will cry.
So I shy away from the part where I ought to be describing myself as a writer because maybe I’m not. Maybe I have urges to pen down stuff and maybe it’s my safe place and maybe as Didion once wrote that I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking about and what I fear. I battle these thoughts and I feel that self-esteem as a writer is more difficult to attain than I hoped. I envy the people who confidently dish out the part where they freelance and are able to pay monthly rent for luxurious apartments and buy extra-large coffees with bagels and other side dishes every morning. I never question my writing. But I often question the label and what it entails. I don’t know how to separate one from the other. Is there a point where you suddenly go from not being a writer to being one? For the life of me, ever since I started reading I’ve wanted to write. Ever since I realized I could write sentences I wanted longer sentences and perfect sentences and I wanted many of them, lined up one after the other. Because when I sit down to write and when I talk about my blog with someone, it’s just so much easier saying I am my writing and honestly I couldn’t elaborate even if I wanted about there being any distinction between the two.
A late night conversation in bed with your best friend makes you realize a thing or two. You know that you both have crossed a line. A line has been crossed. The territory of your thoughts you don’t let anyone ever see. Stories have been shared. Repressed emotions, released. Maybe you’re a sap, or you’re like me; a sap about selective things.
You figure out that there are Stories you’ve been telling yourself since you could remember faces and read the time. These are Stories that inhabit your very existence. You’re going to be dead a century later and with you the realm of your Stories shall end too. Neatly-wrapped Stories. Neatly wrapped Stories of passion and promise.
We’re all storytellers. Some of us simply possess a better imagination. Stories that we tell ourselves when we’re in the car, sitting idly in the middle of a traffic jam. Stories that we tell ourselves in the shower and at the dentist’s while staring at the fish tank. Stories that we’ve brewed along with our coffee. Stories we always knew and never fully understood.
Stories are interesting narratives. Have you ever wondered what it is about a particular Story that charms you? I would believe it to be the familiarity. It’s the stories that we’ve known all our lives. The safety, the caution, the sorrow and the hope that an unfamiliar story cannot, would not achieve.
What do you tell someone who asks you to write a Story that never happened? Or a Story you wish had never happened. You can be a smart mouth and tell them that they’re both overlapping most of the time. Remember back when you were always trying so hard. There was a face and you needed for Words, to distort that face. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Recall the moment under your eye’s magnifying lens when you told a Story just because you didn’t want to concentrate on that face. Which Story was it? Was it the most honest and heartfelt one you’ve never shared with anyone? Was it murky and had unrealistic edges, a tapestry with holes through which selective details kept slipping through.
We like to betray the Stories that support us. We betray ourselves, too and it gets tiring but we never stop. I wonder why people hold back so much. I wonder why we hold back at all and then complain that life’s never going to satisfy our innermost Stories. I’ll tell you what. We’re afraid that the Stories in our heads won’t coincide with The Story Of Our Life. The ones we sewed up in the velvet of the night. The ones that were invariably tarnished by dawn.