Annotation: The not-so-silly reason why I stopped writing

It started off as a boring unnecessary activity for someone who used to take pride in learning entire passages by heart after few re-reads. While growing up, I used to enjoy letting a work of literature wander in my mind like suspended dust in an abandoned room. My mind would contemplate what I read but then hold it softly enough that when it’s heard again it would sound fresh and new. I believed that literature was meant to be tasted, enjoyed and experienced. To me, this meant that an attempt to inject logic into why written ideas are in a specific order was pure wrong.

But then came annotation during first year of university to unlock that sacred abandoned room in my mind, promising to clean it and categorize these raw particles so unapologetically.

It was introduced just like any thing else in the classic education system: here is what it is and here is how it’s done- now do it yourself.

(Me after first attempt)

This is created to ensure that students read and understand every single thing. I hope this doesn’t become a thing.

(Me after second attempt)

Ok. This is annoying. I can’t even enjoy what I am reading. I don’t want to read for THAT purpose.

(Me after few attempts)

I can still indulge in this read and annotate it afterwards, right?

Nope. For me it was one or the other. I couldn’t read a poem to dissect it, but to reflect and imagine and contemplate. The knowledge and understanding will find their way to the reader, there is no need to make an overly-explained topic out of it.

During that year, I started getting into the habit of annotating the pieces I would imagine having written- while they so playfully still emerge in my mind. The result was always deeming my creations as "irrelevant," "not answering to the thesis statement" or "repetitive".

I was so quick to edit out all that came to mind. I was even writing an imaginery book of my life, deleting every sentence as soon as I finish writing it.

The story of my life will be a best-seller in no time!

Sure.

And so it happened- I stopped having the itch to write. And the writer in me retreated to a far-fetched place, preferring not to dignify the debate with any proof.

It’s been 9 years since my first annotation assignment.

I’ve repearedly wondered why I couldn’t sit and write as before. I thought that maybe I had to lose the writer that once occupied me to give space to the theater actor I chose to become.

As if I couldn’t be both.

It’s the very first time in 9 years that I write something that aims to be more than a facebook post or copy-for-money.

That’t because I have figured out all the reasons. Beside my objection to the structured ways of framing literature, there was something else.

It was a limiting belief that dictates that my writing has to be annotation-perfect to be worth publishing anywhere. You see, my ego couldn’t stand someone, or even myself, pointing at a part and saying that it was misplaced or had to be reworked. I didn’t want my own work to be annotated the way it was done on these perfect famous writers.

But now, this has changed and the evidence is right here.

The next step now is to keep reading, writing and, sometimes, annotating.