Just start, I think to myself. And so, I did.
The very first thing I did was type the date on the word processor I am using. Twenty-seventh of April, 2016. I was never one for remembering dates (much to the dismay of my History teachers), but someone taught me that putting dates on things are important. My friend never exactly explained why, but I started putting dates on everything I wrote since then, and it became a habit. Oddly, it did make me feel like everything I typed is more important (just because of that little addition). Plus, I think it made me feel more aware of how I’ve grown (or not grown) since I’ve last created the piece. How my opinions swayed. How my voice has changed. How my insights delved more depth.
Earlier, my spirit was kind of broken as I have just lost the job that is the bread and butter of my… existence? Perhaps existence is too strong a word; nevertheless it was a job I loved because it revolved on writing. And writing is fun; no doubt writing is something that I can see doing for the rest of my life. So I asked myself, what went wrong?
I think it’s a good sign that I know the answer to that question. To oversimplify things, the job did not feel like it was writing as much as it was a chore. Writing is supposed to be fun. Writing is supposed to be an act of love between the subject and the author. It should be as profound as any act of creation; that time and space at the moment is irrelevant and all that matters is the flow of the words that follow perhaps one’s breath, one’s hair. In one’s eye, it should be as green as the freshest blade of grass it tries to paint; as warm as autumn shades and as cold as winter, too, if one so chooses.
The important thing is, writing should be magical… but with the expectations of work, it lost its spark.
Writing, to me, meant stark white deadlines and prisons made of eyes that demand only what they want to see. They ask of my tongue and pen to write and speak the way they would write and speak and only in the way they could write and speak. I know, this is not a new problem and it is a price we pay for choosing to be willing corporate slaves to earn a wage, but still — for something as sacred as writing, the asking price does take a toll.
I am temporarily free of that now, but you know what? I would probably do it again. I would find another place that would use the written word the way they would want me to use it because, hey, every one’s got to make a living. Sadly, people who can afford not to be a sellout are rare, and I am not one of them.
Meanwhile, I’ll take this short reprieve as time to rekindle that passion I once loved. To remember the first time I successfully stringed beautiful words together. The time when I made sing the sounds of every syllable.
So I ended up going back to the start. I was only thinking that I want to write. It’s obvious now that I love writing, isn’t it? I really do. But I was honestly scared that I cannot find something to write about; like words had somehow let go of my grip and I’ve lost that special relationship with something that matters to me so much. Still, inside of me there is that voice that says, “Start. Just start. Everything will follow.”
And so I did, and I ended up writing this: probably one of the pieces I am most proud of in all my years of writing. Not because it was well-written, or that I got to use words in my vocabulary that I have never used in a long time, but because it made me remember that yes, writing should not burn out your eyes, and it definitely should not make you feel dead inside.
So just start. You’ll be glad you did.